Raisin muffins sold here by home-grown chain BreadTalk are safe to eat, it said yesterday, following media reports in Hong Kong that elevated levels of aluminium had been found in the baked treat.
BreadTalk said the aluminium in the Hong Kong muffins came from an employee accidentally adding too much baking powder, which can contain the metal. "It is an isolated incident due to staff inadvertence where a higher-than-stipulated amount of baking powder was used in the production," it said in a statement. "This... resulted in the high level of aluminium content found in the said raisin muffin."
Apple Daily reported on Sunday that it had found 27mg of aluminium in the BreadTalk muffin after sending bread samples from five bakeries to the Hong Kong Standards and Testing Centre.
BreadTalk said it had the muffins in Singapore tested by an independent laboratory and results showed they were safe for consumption. The lab found 0.0688mg of aluminium in the muffin mix used to bake them.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) told The Straits Times that Singapore refers to international standards on the use of aluminium-containing food additives.
For example, a joint committee by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the World Health Organisation has established a tolerable intake level of 2mg per kilogram of body weight per week for aluminium. This means a healthy individual who weighs 50kg can consume 100 mg of aluminium a week over a lifetime without health risk.
AVA said long-term consumption of food with high levels of aluminium-containing food additives may pose a health risk. But it added that the committee has not found any evidence to confirm the association between high intakes of aluminium from food and neurological conditions.
BreadTalk said it has taken the muffins off the shelves in Hong Kong and will investigate the production process.