Buying a mooncake for the Mid-Autumn Festival is not a difficult task, but identifying a safe, quality item from the myriad available could be.
With a month to go for the Mid-Autumn Festival (September 13), the mooncake market is heating up with numerous offerings ranging from renowned brands and quality handmade or imported products to items with questionable quality. But the huge range of choices means customers are confused about which one is of good quality to buy.
It’s not difficult to see how much consumers are confused and hesitant because of the array of mooncakes of varying quality available in the market. Experts warned about expired and moldy products unsold the previous year and given a makeover and a fresh look. Besides, many unapproved additives might be used recklessly, they noted. Having an eye-catching look or being labeled "handmade" or "imported" does not guarantee that a mooncake is really delicious or safe to eat.
Dr Tran Van Ky, an expert from the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), said: "Mooncakes are made from a number of ingredients like flour, egg, meat and meat-based products, nuts, beans, fruit and condiments, and undergo multiple processing steps. Mooncake ingredients might be exposed to microbial infections like mold or parasites, toxic pollutants like prohibited antibiotics, animal feed supplements...
"The production and storage conditions and the baker's health also affect the hygiene and safety of mooncakes."
There are some criteria to consider when choosing mooncakes.
Ky advised people to be careful when choosing mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Firstly, they should carefully check the packaging and appearance of the product, making sure there was no unusual odor or color.
Besides, the plastic cover should be kept intact for optimal preservation, something that was well controlled by prestigious brands with advanced production lines.
Generally, mooncakes remained at their best for 50-75 days. Customers should choose prestigious mooncake brands with clear and sufficient information including manufacturing date, expiry date and ingredients.
The cakes should be stored in optimal conditions and enclosed with oxygen absorbers to not only prevent deterioration but also maintain an anaerobic environment, which helped retain freshness and flavor for a longer time.
Mooncakes, which have a high content of fats and fresh ingredients, are prone to oxidation.
"Be careful with expiry dates of handmade mooncakes since they are made without conforming strictly to food safety and hygiene standards unlike those manufactured in state-of-the-art industrial production lines."
The appearance was also important for mooncakes, which was demonstrated by creative and elaborate packaging to match the good quality.
A mooncake with a great appearance and taste is an ideal gift of love, care and best wishes at family reunion occasions like the Mid-Autumn Festival. Enjoying mooncakes is an art. This is the art showcased in premium mooncakes that guarantee the highest levels of safety and quality, elegant and exquisite packaging, and love and care behind each unique mooncake. Choosing mooncakes with high safety and quality standards can make the Mid-Autumn Festival more meaningful.