Korean juice containing illegal sweetener intercepted

01/18/2022 09:20 PM
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Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration
Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) Nearly 4,000 kilograms of a batch of Korean juice containing an illegal sweetener were intercepted before entering Taiwan, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Tuesday.

According to the FDA, a batch of 3,920 kilograms of DDakjoa collagen pomegranate juice imported from South Korea by Che-yi Trade Co., Ltd. was found to contain 0.02 grams of saccharin per kilogram during a recent border inspection.

Saccharin is a sweet-tasting synthetic compound used in food and drink as a substitute for sugar.

As Taiwan does not allow the sweetener to be added to juice, the whole batch will either be destroyed or returned to South Korea, the agency noted.

In Taiwan, saccharin is only allowed to be added to six types of products -- candied fruit, carbonated beverages, sugar substitute, nutritional supplements in special categories, food in capsule form, and effervescent tablets, FDA Northern Center head Chen Ching-yu (陳慶裕) told CNA.

Animal tests have showed that an excessive intake of saccharin could induce bladder cancer in white mice, but does not have an adverse effect on human health, Chen said.

In addition to the Korean pomegranate juice, 10 other imported products, including bearded tooth mushrooms from China, fresh strawberries from Japan, instant oats and fresh oranges from the United States, and peppermint leaves from Egypt were also discovered to be substandard during recent border inspections, the FDA said.

These products will all either be returned to their country of origin or destroyed based on Taiwan's regulations, the agency added.

Since mushrooms imported from China have often been found to be substandard, the FDA has stepped up the border inspection of Chinese dry food imports to 50 percent of those imports since last year, Chen said.

Recently, two batches of Chinese lion's mane mushrooms, weighing 6,400 kg and 1,946 kg, respectively, were prevented from entering Taiwan for containing 0.69 ppm and 0.36 ppm of chlormequat, an illegal pesticide, according to the FDA.

(By Flor Wang and Chiang Hui-jun)

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