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“Soy Milk” is most similar to cow’s milk in terms of protein level and nutrient content Most people will instantly think of soy milk when referring to plant-based milks. Indeed, the protein level and nutrient contents of soy milk are similar to that of cow’s milk. However, as most of soy beans’ calcium remains with the okara which is filtered out during the soy milk production process, the calcium content of soy milk is not high normally unless it is “fortified” – a process of adding essential micronutrients to a food product in order to compensate for the loss of nutrients during the production process or to enhance the overall nutritional value of the food product. Can “Coconut Milk” enhance weight loss? Coconut milk is usually made from coconut kernel and diluted with water. It is relatively low in protein. Some research shows that coconuts contain medium- chain triglycerides (MCTs) which is a type of fat capable of boosting metabolism and thus is good for weight maintenance. However, MCTs only constitute a small portion (~ 13%) of the total fat content of coconuts. Overconsumption of foods derived from coconuts, on the other hand, can lead to excess intake of other saturated fats (the daily intake of which should be capped at 22g for a 2,000 calorie diet), which may in turn increase “bad” cholesterol level and risks of cardiovascular diseases. Can “Almond Milk” make your heart healthier? Almonds contain unsaturated fats which help to lower bad cholesterol level. However, until now there are no sufficient findings to conclude that almond milk can also bring about similar benefits to our hearts. Although almonds are rich in protein, most of the almond pulp is filtered out during the production process of almond milk thus making the protein content of almond milk different to that of its main ingredient. Moreover, as a large quantity of water is added during the process, the calorie level and other nutrient content of almond milk are all lower than those of cow’s milk. Is it true that “Oat Milk” is high in protein and helps to eliminate bad cholesterol? Oats contain “beta-glucan” which is a form of soluble dietary fibre that helps to lower bad cholesterol level and keep our cardiovascular system healthy. As compared to coconut milk, rice milk and almond milk, oat milk has a higher protein content (albeit still lower than that of cow’s milk and soy milk) and its carbohydrate content is also higher than other plant-based milks. However, oats can be contaminated with gluten during cultivation and processing by other gluten-containing grains, oat milk is therefore not suitable for people who are allergic to gluten. “Rice milk” is high in carbs and not likely to cause allergic reaction. Does it score high in nutritional value? Rice milk is made from rice and does not contain the common allergens. It is high in carbohydrates as compared with other non-grain-based milks, but at the same time is rather low in protein. Moreover, it has a relatively high glycemic index (GI) and therefore people with diabetes should avoid consuming rice milk in large quantity. So, can cow’s milk be replaced by plant-based milks? Plant-based milks are free from cholesterol and low in calories. Apart from coconut milk, all the other 4 plant-based milks are low in saturated fats as compared to cow’s milk, which is indeed very attractive to some people. However as compared to cow’s milk, plant-based milks are inferior in terms of content levels in protein, calcium and vitamin B12. Protein: Protein helps build and repair body tissues. Only cow’s milk and soy milk have “complete protein” which contains essential amino acids that our body needs but cannot produce on its own. In order to ensure the sufficient intake of essential amino acids and proper functioning of the body, we should also expand our diets to include other food types such as whole-grain foods, soybeans, nuts and eggs, etc. Calcium:Calcium plays an important role in the development of strong bones and teeth and preventing osteoporosis. Plant-based milks are normally low in calcium. However, most plant-based milks in the market are already fortified to achieve a calcium level similar to that of cow’s milk. When deciding which plant-based milk to buy, consumers should read the nutrition labels carefully and choose those with added calcium. Vitamin B12: Cow’s milk is rich in vitamin B12 which is essential for the production of red blood cells and in maintaining a healthy nervous system. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can cause anaemia and certain nervous system diseases. Vegans who do not consume eggs and dairy products should consider plant-based milks that are fortified with vitamin B12. If you want to learn more about the nutrient content of plant-based milks and our recommendations in choosing and the consumption of these products, please refer to the article “Can Plant-Based Milks Replace Cow’s Milk? Knowing the Nutrient Content of 5 Major Plant-Based Milks”. CHOICE Magazine, Issue 521 (Chinese version only).
Understand what is “formamide” Yoga mats that are available in the market are made from different materials and one of them is ethylene vinyl acetate (or EVA). Why should we pay attention to EVA? Because according to a research report released by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), foam puzzle mats made from EVA were found to contain “formamide” and ANSES suggested that the level of formamide emission be subject to limitation. What exactly is “formamide”? According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), it is classified as a toxic for reproduction category 1B. Animal studies showed that prolonged exposure to formamide could cause harm on their haematopoietic and reproductive systems. A number of researches further indicated that formamide can cause embryotic and teratogenic effects on various species and via different ways of exposure. Think of those yoga poses that require touching your face with the yoga mat while taking a deep breath. If the mat were to release harmful substances, you would then be inhaling all the “toxic chemicals”. From the formamide tests on yoga mats, let’s take note on the following…... Of the 30 models tested, different quantities of formamide were detected in 28 of them, but the level detected in 9 models even exceeded the EU’s Toy Safety Directive’s cut-off limit of 200mg/kg! These 9 models were put to further emission tests to check whether the quantity of formamide emission would exceed 20μg/m3 over a 28-day period. Fortunately, all models were in compliance with the EU’s Toy Safety Directive for the emission test. How to reduce the risk of inhaling toxic substances? Under normal room temperature, formamide emission from a yoga mat might not be significant. However, high room temperature (e.g. when practicing hot yoga) and poor ventilation or placing a few yoga mats in the same room could increase the ambient concentration of formamide which in turn could cause irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract, causing temporary discomfort. According to ANSES, the level of formamide emission from foam mats would be the highest in the beginning and would decreases rapidly in the next few days. In about a month, the emission would drop to a level which is considered safe for human bodies. Therefore, before using a new yoga mat, it should be left open in a place with good ventilation and kept out of reach of infants and pets for several days. This, in theory, should effectively reduce your chances of breathing in toxic substances from the yoga mat. Apart from formamide, yoga mats may also contain other substances? For further information, please refer to the article, “Harmful Substances Detected in Yoga Mats with 9 Models Containing Relatively High Level of Formamide”. CHOICE Magazine, Issue 521 (Chinese version only). The article reported test results on various yoga mats in the market, which should enhance your awareness!
What is microplastic? According to an article from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2016, microplastics are mixtures of particles in various shapes and types, including fragments, fibres, spheres, pellets, granules, films and microbeads with size ranging from 0.1 to 5,000 micrometres(μm). Microplastics can be further divided into two types: primary and secondary. Primary microplastics: plastics that are directly manufactured into the intended size, e.g., microbeads contained in cleansing scrubs. Secondary microplastics: plastic fragments that are created from the breaking down of larger plastic products through processes such as wave erosion, photodegradation and biodegradation. In the edible salts that were found to contain microplastics, the two most commonly found substances are poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and polypropylene (PP). Where do plastics in our food come from? Regardless of the type, microplastics are similar to sediments and zooplanktons in terms of size and shape, and thus cannot be completely eliminated by the existing sewage treatment systems. Microplastics can therefore be ingested by marine organisms and enter the food chain. At the same time, plastic food packaging also represents another possible source of microplastics. In the test samples of edible salts mentioned above, the microplastics found may have come from contaminated raw materials or the products’ plastic packaging. If the contamination comes from raw materials, then it may also be related to other factors such as level of contamination, utilization and recycling rate of various plastic products and the stability of their chemical structures under different heat level, UV exposure and oxidation level. The effects of microplastics on us The microplastics in food are capable of absorbing harmful chemical substances and releasing their own additives. While currently it is still inconclusive in relation to microplastics’ effects on human bodies, prolonged intake of these chemical substances would certainly do no good to our bodies. How to eliminate microplastics from our food? The simplest way is to tackle the root cause. If we can adhere to the principle of sustainable consumption by reducing the use of plastic products or switching to degradable plastic products, or explore measures such as expanding the plastic bags levy and increasing recycling rates etc, we would be able to reduce the harmful effects brought by plastic pollution on the environment and all creatures. This would ultimately benefit us all. If you still do not have an idea on how often microplastics can be found in our food, you may refer to the article: “Metallic Contaminants Detected in More than 60% of Edible Salts Presence of Micro-plastics in 20% of Sea Salts Showing Urgent Need for Plastic Reduction”. CHOICE Magazine, Issue 522. The Consumer Council tested certain edible salts in the market, and from the results we realize that we simply cannot overlook the impact of environmental pollution.
Tip on energy saving #1: Save energy while enjoying the cool breeze The first thing most people do when they return home on a hot summer day is to switch on the air conditioner. If you want to save energy in the long run while enjoying the cool breeze, you may want to spend a bit more and invest in an inverter type air conditioner! The more energy-efficient inverter type air conditioners may cost 15-20% more than the fixed capacity type, but despite being more expensive, consumers can save enough on electricity costs over 2 to 3 years to make up for the difference. This is because an inverter type air conditioner will run at a high speed when it is initially switched on, and then it will automatically reduce the speed when the room temperature is closer to the target temperature, thereby saving energy. When purchasing an inverter type air conditioner, you have to take into consideration factors such as room size and the actual environment. For example, if the unit is placed in a huge living room, make sure it has sufficient cooling capacity to prevent it from prolonged operation under maximum load, which will consume a lot of energy. Although the display of ‘Energy Label Grade 1’ can be an easy-to-understand energy efficiency indicator, air conditioners displaying the same ‘Grade 1’ labels may still vary in energy saving due to their differences in the Cooling Seasonal Performance Factor (CSPF). Therefore, consumers should also refer to the CSPF test results published by the Consumer Council (the ‘Council’). There are various models of air conditioners on the market. Which one is the most energy efficient? You may refer to the article ‘How to Save Energy While Enjoying the Cool Breeze? Air Conditioners with High Energy Efficiency Can Save 20% or More in Energy Costs’ (Chinese version only) in issue #487 of CHOICE Magazine. Choosing an energy-saving model is just the first step. Don’t forget to clean and maintain the air conditioner regularly in order to keep it in the most energy-efficient condition! Apart from electricity costs, you can also contribute to environmental protection and sustainable consumption by choosing the right air conditioner. We can use the Global Warming Potential (GWP) to assess the impact of refrigerant on the environment. The larger the number, the more likely it will cause global warming. R410A, the most common refrigerant at the moment, has a GWP value of 2,088. But the new R32 refrigerant has a GWP value of only 675, which significantly reduces the impact on the environment. To find out which air conditioners are more eco-friendly, please refer to the article ‘Review of 3/4 Horsepower Window-Type Air Conditioners. Models with Eco-Friendly Refrigerant Perform Better!’ (Chinese version only) in issue #523 of CHOICE Magazine. Tip on energy saving #2: Washing with warm water can be expensive Pay heed if you need to do laundry frequently as different models of front-loading and top-loading impeller washing machines may vary in energy consumption by as much as 80%! The first question you need to ask yourself is, ‘Do you really need to wash your clothes in warm water?’ Warm water at a certain temperature can indeed kill dust mites, decompose grease, and remove sweat odours. But other than that, the difference in cleaning performance between warm water and room temperature water is very small. In fact, room temperature water is more gentle on fabrics and can prevent fading and shrinking. If you don't have to use warm water for washing, then a top-loading impeller washing machine can help you to save. Although top-loading impeller models use room temperature water, their average cleaning performance is only slightly behind front-loading models which use warm water. Surprisingly, some top-loading impeller models even achieve better cleaning results than some front-loading ones! On the whole, top-loading impeller models without heating function consume 80% less in energy than front-loading ones. Also, their spin speed is lower, and the washing process takes less time as well. However, it should be noted that top-loading impeller models consume more water. Don't forget that your washing machine is actually very high-tech! Before the wash, sort your laundry items according to fabric types and degree of soiling, then select the appropriate washing program. You may simply choose the ‘Eco’ program which is also a good way to save energy. In addition to energy consumption, you should also consider water consumption, noise level, size, etc., in order to choose the right washing machine that best caters for your needs. You may refer to the article ‘Top-Loading Impeller and Front-Loading Washing Machines, Which Type Saves More Energy and Water?’ (Chinese version only) in issue #488 of CHOICE Magazine. Tip on energy saving #3: Energy-efficient LED light bulbs...and extra energy-efficient LED light bulbs! You may have already replaced those tungsten light bulbs that consume more energy and heat up easily with the more energy-efficient LED light bulbs. But which LED light bulb is the most energy efficient version? It turns out that dim lights do not necessarily save more energy, and brighter light bulbs are not that energy-consuming! To find out if the light bulb is truly energy-efficient, one can't just look at its degree of ‘luminous flux’ but should also look at its ‘luminous efficacy’! ‘Luminous efficacy’ refers to the lumen output per watt of electricity. The larger the value, the better the energy efficiency. A light bulb with low luminous flux (i.e., low in brightness) and one with high luminous flux (i.e., high in brightness) can theoretically have the same ‘luminous efficacy’. The key is the amount of electricity they consume to produce the same luminosity. When selecting a light bulb, you can pay attention to its lumen (LM) output marked on its packaging. The higher the lumen output, the brighter the light bulb. If the LM output is the same, the one with lower wattage is more energy efficient because of its higher ‘luminous efficacy’. The Council tested 10 LED light bulbs on the market, including 7 conventional ones and 3 smart light bulbs. The 3 smart light bulbs claimed to emit up to 16 million colour rays, and users could adjust the color and brightness of these light bulbs through their ‘apps’. It was found that the ‘luminous efficacy’ of 2 smart light bulbs varied significantly under different colours. In addition to ‘luminous efficacy’, consumers should also consider the lifespan of the light bulbs. Nowadays, light bulbs on the market usually claim to have a lifespan of 15,000 hours to 25,000 hours. When the lumen output of an LED light bulb drops to 70%, it is generally regarded as being expired. From the test, 2 models could still maintain their original luminous flux after 6,000 hours of use, while the remaining 8 models scored slightly behind, with an average drop of 1.1% to 6.2% in luminosity. If you want to quickly find out if the LED light bulbs that you are using are energy efficient, you may refer to the articles ‘3 LED Light Bulbs Scored High in Luminous Efficacy and Energy Efficiency’ and ‘Choose the More Cost-Effective and Durable LED Light Bulbs’ (Chinese versions only) in issues #512 and #521 of CHOICE Magazine. Energy conservation is a lifetime commitment. In addition to choosing high-performance, long-lasting and energy-efficient appliances, we should also try to change some of our habits. In recent years, there have been many innovative products and ideas, such as smart extension units. On the other hand, you can preset and switch off your air conditioner 1 hour before you get up in the morning, thus reducing energy consumption. Some people said this method not only had helped them in terms of energy saving but also changed their habits of sleeping in. Do you have any unique idea on this subject? If so, please share with your family and friends!
Purchasing and Using Multipurpose Disinfectant Sprays – Facts Unpacked 【Mag Lam × Face Mask Testing】How Effective is Your Mask? DIY Face Mask – 8 Steps for Making Protective Gear Reuse Mask? DIY Mask? A Quick Glance on How to Choose Sterilized Disinfection Alcohol Alcohol Test - Is Sterilized Disinfection Alcohol Toxic? Special Feature on Chargeback Compensation Flight Ticket – Cancellation/Extension/Refund What you need to know about credit card chargeback? Treat pets well in the epidemic 10 Must-read Tips for Using Bleach In the meantime, a series of useful information on personal and household hygiene as well as updates on COVID-19 will also be provided. The Council is committed to working with people from all walks of life to tackle the novel coronavirus and safeguard public health together! Never re-use surgical masks! Is COVID-19 covered by insurance? A Handy Kit for Citywide Epidemic Prevention Don’t Stockpile Toilet paper Tips on Using Disinfectant Alcohol Maintain U-shaped Trap in Drainage Pipe Properly Do Not Use Industrial Alcohol to Make Hand Rub [PDF] Result Table on Comparative Test of Disposable Masks The articles below are only available in Chinese. Please click the links to download. [PDF] 花錢求心安？除菌掛卡掛章七大疑點 [PDF] 6款消毒酒精含有毒甲醇 逾8成濃度或容量不足 [PDF] 新型冠狀病毒快速測試存「假陰性」風險 勿胡亂自行檢測 [PDF] 社交平台網站購防疫用品風險高 保持理性免招損失 [PDF] 測試29款口罩 3款過濾細菌效率高於99.9% [PDF] 檢視37款消毒搓手液及濕巾 部分成分安全性受關注 [PDF] 多款洗手液驗出可致敏防腐劑或污染物 殺菌效能高下懸殊 [PDF] 漂白水濃度不足 1比99消毒殺菌成疑？ [PDF] 如何揀選酒精消毒用品 [PDF] 5款廚房紙含菌量超標 吸水量參差 [PDF] 3款盒裝面紙韌性好吸濕快 每盒張數可相差逾100張！ [PDF] 全城抗疫 個人家居衞生必讀貼士 Hotline of The Centre for Health Protection: 2125 1122 (8am to midnight) The Centre for Health Protection – Local Situation Dashboard More information will be uploaded soon ...
For example, consumers who reserve flight tickets through travel agencies, it is possible that travel agencies may charge administrative fees according to the terms even if the airlines allow full refund in response to special circumstances; if the airlines decide to let the flights take off as scheduled and thus refuse to refund or offer trip extension, one must also consider the risk and do not rush to depart. In addition, the purchase of only flight tickets from licensed travel agencies in Hong Kong is not covered by the Travel Industry Compensation Fund. Only those travel packages covering both flight tickets plus hotels or attractions from licensed travel agencies in Hong Kong would be entitled to the stamps issued and protected by the Travel Industry Compensation Fund. For more information, please go to : Special Feature on Chargeback Compensation Together, We Fight the Virus
1: Is there a cash benefit for infectious diseases? The insured person is forced to be quarantined during the journey or within 7 days after returning to Hong Kong due to suspected or confirmed infection with infectious diseases, the insurance company will provide the insured with cash benefits in accordance with the terms based on the number of quarantine days. The insured must present documents proving such mandatory quarantine is required by the government agencies for infection or suspected infection. 2: Is there a medical hospitalization benefit after infection? Not necessarily. The insured person should be aware that insurance policies generally have non-insured clauses. If the insured person has purchased the travel insurance and the destination has been declared as an epidemic area by the "government" or "World Health Organization", it is likely that the insured person will not be able to enjoy such medical protection. 3: Is there any compensation on the cruise? As far as travel insurance is concerned, if travelers are suspected or confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus and are therefore forced to be quarantined on a cruise ship / designated quarantine premises, general travel insurance provides mandatory quarantine cash benefits. However, if the passenger changes or cancels the original mooring port due to this situation, it is not the designated risk of cruise travel insurance. In the event where the cruise company has canceled the original mooring port purely on precaution, it is the service provider's failure to provide services and is generally not insured. Passengers should check with the operator for a refund or compensation. As of early March, the Consumer Council has not received any complaint about refusing to provide "quarantine cash subsidies due to infectious diseases" to customers who were required to quarantine on cruises. 4: Does travel insurance cover the novel coronavirus pneumonia? The Government has included "Severe New Infectious Pathogen Respiratory Disease" (ie Novel Coronavirus) as a statutory notifiable infectious disease on January 8 to strengthen surveillance. Consumers need to be aware of whether infectious diseases are covered by the policy terms. The insured person should be aware that there is a chance that the designated body ("Government" or "WHO") has not published the designated area and the insured person has not obtained the desired protection. In May 2018, the Consumer Council published a survey report on travel insurance. It reviewed the policy terms of the 16 insurance companies obtained at the time and came to the following observation: 11 companies' policies define "Infectious Disease" 7 required infectious diseases that have been transmitted from person to person and that have been widely spread among the local population by the World Health Organization. 3 required infectious disease-related information to be announced by the “government” and require quarantine. 1 prescribed infectious disease must be published by the "Hong Kong Government" under the Prevention and Control of Diseases Ordinance, Chapter 599 of the Laws of Hong Kong. 5 companies' policies do not define "infectious disease" 5: Is it protected if the trip is canceled due to travel alert? Many travel insurance policies provide different levels of protection for black/red/yellow outbound travel alerts, such as cancellation of the itinerary, or cash allowance on travel alert. If the Hong Kong government issues travel alerts to other regions/countries, some travel insurance policies provide compensation for cancellations and usually cover some non-refundable travel costs. However, it must be noted that as some insurance companies have already established the widespread of this new type of coronavirus as an existing risk, insurance policies purchased after a certain date may not provide compensation even if they are protected by outbound travel alerts. Details are subject to the terms of the policy. The insured should first ask the tour operator for the cost of canceling the itinerary. The expenses that cannot be recovered can be claimed from the insurance company according to the terms of the insurance policy. (From the Hong Kong Insurance Association) 6. Is it covered by the insurance if one infected at the destination? If the insured person is unfortunately infected with the novel coronavirus at the destination during the tour, it is required to go to a local registered hospital for medical treatment to be covered by overseas medical expenses. If the itinerary is changed accordingly, additional accommodation and transportation costs will be covered. If the insured person is unfortunately infected with the novel coronavirus before the trip and is unable to depart, travel protection will be covered. As the products of different insurance companies are different, the policyholder should pay attention to the terms of the policy. They may also check with the intermediary or insurance company. (From The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers) 7: Is it covered by insurance if one has to cancel the trip or quarantine at home? If the trip is canceled due to the epidemic, please pay attention to the following protections: The 14 company policies surveyed will provide travel cancellation protection for the insureds who need to undergo mandatory quarantine, but there are also individual policies that do not provide protection for "quarantine at home"; the policies of 11 companies specify that when an unexpected outbreak of an infectious disease suddenly occurs at the destination of the planned trip within 7 days before the scheduled departure date, the insured can be protected if the trip is canceled. Do take note that the clause generally only covers emergencies at the destination of the trip, which it has to reach "emergency" and "unforeseeable" situations, such a case does not apply in Hong Kong. If the insured person has purchased the travel insurance, the destination of the itinerary has been declared an epidemic area by the "Government" or "World Health Organization", the insured person will probably not be protected. Please visit “Together, We Fight the Virus” webpage of the Consumer Council to understand the remedial measures of various insurance companies regarding the outbreak of the novel coronavirus: Together, We Fight the Virus CHOICE Facebook Fanpage Consumers may also browse the webpage “Insurance Dashboard on COVID-19” provided by The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers to learn more information.
Consumers should note that although there are wrappings on individual rolls as well as on the whole packing, toilet paper will still be exposed to moisture if the wrapping is damaged, resulting in the growth of mould and bacteria. Therefore, please do not stockpile toilet paper. For storage, please keep them in a clean, cool and dry place and not in the bathroom as moisture would adversely affect the quality of the toilet paper. In fact, toilet paper suppliers have already announced that stock was abundant and the supply was well maintained. There is no need to panic. Browsehereof the Council to look for more information on epidemic prevention.