Hong Kong's first ever Food Composition Database set up by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to assist local food industry to comply with the proposed Labeling Scheme on Nutrition Information was officially launched here Thursday.
A launching ceremony was held at the campus of CUHK followed by a seminar in which the function of the database was introduced and participants' views on the topic about food nutrients labeling were shared.
The CUHK set up the database which started operating from July this year with support from the Center for Food Safety, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) of Hong Kong and a funding of about 18 million HK dollars (about 2.3 million U.S. dollars) from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
Apart from analyzing over 1,000 food ingredients commonly used in the local territory in the next three years, the database will provide detailed food composition reference data and technical support for the local food industry, especially small and medium enterprises, via its website, with a view to assisting the industry to comply with the Labeling Scheme on Nutrition Information proposed by the Hong Kong government.
The database will also help the industry to reduce the cost for creating nutrition labels for its food products in the long term.
Speaking at the seminar, Consultant of Center for Food Safety of the FEHD Dr. Ho Yuk Yin said that owing to the increasing public awareness of the nutritional value of food consumed and produced in Hong Kong, nutrition label has become an important tool for consumers to choose their food. Therefore, the Hong Kong government has proposed to introduce the Labeling Scheme on Nutrition Information for all pre-packaged food in Hong Kong.
Ho said that the substantial amount of food composition reference data provided by the database could be used together with other food composition tables around the world in order to help the industry to comply with the proposed scheme.
As the supporting government department, FEHD will closely collaborate with the Database to assist its future development by providing the latest information of the scheme, he added.
According to Director of the database Prof. Kwan Hoi Shan, food composition tables throughout the world lack food composition data on the local food ingredients which makes it hard for local food industry, especially SMEs to find out the composition in detail so that they have to involve in costly process of testing the food and creating new sets of nutrition label for their food products.
Manager of the database Wong Ka Hingi said that the database will not only provide referable nutrition information of over 1, 000 common food ingredients and prepackaged food products, but also the latest progress of the labeling scheme on nutrition information.
Registered members of the database could also search and obtain nutrition information of their targeted food ingredients of prepared pre-packed food products via the online search engine to create suitable nutrition labels for their products, he said.
Wong also told that, in the future, the database will disseminate the latest updates of the Labeling Scheme on Nutrition Information and promote the importance of nutrition labels to the local food industry and the public, via various channels including the website, posters, brochures, school visits, workshops and forums.
Source: China View