CUHK Hosts Reporting and Briefing Session of the Territory’s First Food Composition Database
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has received a funding of nearly HK$18 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to set up the territory’s first Food Composition Database [Chief Executives's Community Project List 2006 (S/N Ref 2006/CP01)]. With strong support from the Centre for Food Safety, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), the project was put into operation in July 2007 and the first stage will be completed in June this year. Over the past four and a half years, the Database has provided nutrition analysis of over 1,300 food products and ingredients commonly used in Hong Kong, and provided detailed reference nutrition information and technical support for the local food industry (especially SMEs) via its website with a view to assisting the industry to comply with the Labelling Scheme on Nutrition Information. The Database helps the industry to reduce the cost for creating nutrition labels for its food products in the long term.
'Milestones Achieved, Milestones Ahead — Food Composition Database Reporting and Briefing Session’ was held today (23 June). Ms. Florine Tang, Executive Manager, Charities, The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Dr. Ho Yuk Yin, Consultant of the Centre for Food Safety, FEHD; Prof. Kenneth Young, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, CUHK; Prof. Kwan Hoi Shan, Project Director of the Database; as well as Prof. Fung Kwok Pui and Prof. Chan Yan Keung, Associate Project Directors of the Database, officiated at the briefing session.
Ms. Florine Tang, Executive Manager, Charities, The Hong Kong Jockey Club, said at today's event that Jockey Club was glad to fund CUHK in setting up the first-ever Food Composition Database in the territory. ‘The Database provides nutrition analysis for local commonly-used food products and ingredients to assist the local food industry to create its own nutrition labels, provides reference nutrition information and technical support for the food industry and the public, and has also acquired HOKLAS accreditationfor the testing methods. This is a milestone which the Food Composition Database has achieved,’ said Ms. Tang.
Dr. Ho Yuk Yin, Consultant of the Centre for Food Safety, FEHD affirmed the work of the Database. He said, ‘The implementation of the Labelling Scheme on Nutrition Information is to help consumers to make evidence-based food choices by recommending the industry to provide useful nutrition information; to encourage food manufacturers to produce food products meeting the nutrition principles; and to regulate misleading or deceptive nutrition labels and claims. The detailed reference food composition information provided by the Database assists the industry to create nutrition labels by an indirect calculation approach. This reduces the cost of creating nutrition labels, provides useful nutrition information to consumers and hence helps implement the Nutrition Labelling Scheme.’
On behalf of CUHK, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof. Kenneth Young thanked The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and the great support from FEHD and the local food industry. Professor Young said, ‘In recent years, the community is more and more concerned with food safety and nutrition issues. The Food Research Centre, the first in Hong Kong, has the responsibility for research and development of food testing methods. Under the leadership of Prof. Kwan Hoi Shan, the Food Research Centre will continue to strive for improvements. It will explore new projects to protect the safety of local foods and actively communicate with the industry, hoping to provide services more suitable for the industry so as to promote its development.’
In the briefing session, Prof. Kwan Hoi Shan, Project Director, and Dr. Mak Sze Pui, Manager of the Database, demonstrated how the use of the Database can help the production of healthier food products, and introduced the future development of the Database. They also briefly introduced the Food Research Centre. The industry was highly interested in the briefing session and questions were raised enthusiastically during the discussion session. The valuable opinions and suggestions collected will enable CUHK to enhance the Database to better meet the needs of the local food industry.
Going forward, the Database will continue to provide useful reference nutrition information for the industry and the public. Staff of the Database and Food Research Centre will also continue to promote the importance of nutrition labels aiming to contribute to food safety and nutrition in Hong Kong.