Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog says tests on cookies and sweet pastries revealed shocking findings – 90% of samples contained contaminated foodstuffs that could cause cancer.

The Consumer Council tested 58 brands of cookies, egg rolls and sweet pastries, which are popular as Lunar New Year gifts and found nearly 90% of them to have genotoxic carcinogens – glycidol and acrylamide – which are released when oils are cooked at high temperatures during the refining process, according to the council release on Tuesday.

Some 40 products were found to contain glycidol, ranging from 3.4 to 1,900 micrograms per kilogram.

Egg rolls from famous Yuen Long’s Wing Wah were found to contain 1,900 micrograms per kg of glycidol, the highest level of glycidol among all samples, Sing Tao Daily reported, followed by egg rolls from Yu Pin King.

The council found acrylamide in 42 products. The highest among all samples were Sainsbury’s chocolate cookie, which contained 340 micrograms per kg.

Some 35 items had 3-MCPD, a chemical compound, with wide variance from 11 to 780 micrograms per kilogram, which can harm the kidneys and male fertility.

‘The less you eat the better’

The World Health Organization does not set a limit for consumption of glycidol and acrylamide, but the advice for consumers is the less you eat the better.

The Consumer Council is calling on manufacturers of cookies and other treats to use healthier ingredients – like butter instead of shortening oil, margarine and refined vegetable oil.

Apart from the contaminants, the council said all of the tested products were considered as high in sugar or fat contents.