Dis­pos­able chop­sticks gen­er­ally safe: Case

The New Paper - - NEWS - DEREK WONG

A test on dis­pos­able chop­sticks sold here shows they are gen­er­ally safe for use and do not con­tain ex­ces­sive amounts of sul­phur diox­ide residue, said the Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion of Sin­ga­pore (Case) yes­ter­day.

Sul­phur diox­ide is often used as a bleach­ing agent and to pre­vent the growth of mould and pests in dis­pos­able wooden or bam­boo chop­sticks.

Ex­ces­sive sul­phur diox­ide can harm the hu­man res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem, said Case in a state­ment.

The test on 20 sam­ples of dis­pos­able chop­sticks showed less than 400mg/kg of sul­phur diox­ide in all sam­ples. A range of be­tween 7mg/kg and 364mg/kg was de­tected.

There is no spe­cific stan­dard reg­u­lat­ing the amount of sul­phur diox­ide residue in dis­pos­able chop­sticks here, said Case, but it noted that reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties in China and Tai­wan limit the amount to 600mg/kg and 500mg/kg re­spec­tively.

Case added that the chop­sticks tested were from de­part­ment stores, su­per­mar­kets and stores in the heart­land ar­eas.

Chop­sticks pro­vided for take­aways from eateries were ex­cluded “as a form of con­trol and also be­cause of trace­abil­ity is­sues”.

While Case said dis­pos­able chop­sticks here are gen­er­ally safe for use based on the test re­sults, it ad­vised con­sumers to avoid us­ing chop­sticks that ap­pear too white.

“As sul­phur diox­ide is used as a bleach­ing agent, dis­pos­able chop­sticks that ap­pear too white are likely to have been bleached be­fore, thus po­ten­tially con­tain­ing sul­phur diox­ide,” said Case.

It said the pub­lic should avoid dis­pos­able chop­sticks that give off a pun­gent smell as this may in­di­cate chem­i­cal use, and that the chop­sticks are meant for sin­gle use only.

Mr Loy York Jiun, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Case, said the test was con­ducted fol­low­ing re­ports in the re­gion about harm­ful chem­i­cals found in dis­pos­able chop­sticks.

wderek@sph.com.sg

PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Sul­phur diox­ide is often used as a bleach­ing agent and to pre­vent the growth of mould and pests in dis­pos­able chop­sticks.

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