Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Veganbaking

Ten ice-cream products sold in Hong Kong contain toxic substances, according to test results by a biotech company.

Some 29 samples of ice-cream from nine brands from Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland, the US and New Zealand were purchased from supermarkets and convenience stores in May for testing, Wen Wei Po reported.

The test results showed that about a third – 33.5% – of ice-cream products contain toxic substances.

The biotech firm analyzed the products for acute toxicity, chronic toxicity and banned ingredients, and the samples were categorized as “green fish”, “yellow fish” or “red fish”, which meant, respectively, “excellent”, “basic” or “sub-optimal” in terms of safety.

According to the test results, 10 out of 29 samples were “red fish” which indicates that the product was below standards in one or more criteria. Consumers were recommended to use extra caution when purchasing these.

A further 12 samples were rated as “green fish” (excellent) and 7 were “yellow fish” (basic).

The test results showed that Swiss brands had the best safety performance.

Common additives including guaran (found in 22 samples), locust bean gum and carrageenan (both found in 15 samples), which are popular food stabilizers and thickeners, were found in the samples. These ingredients will not cause direct health risks when used in compliance with proper standards.

However, if mixed with other additives or ingredients, they may produce toxic compounds and compromise food safety.

Nutritionists advise ice-cream lovers to choose single flavor ice-cream like vanilla as more flavors means more additives are needed as food stabilizers, Oriental Daily reported.