Tainted Moringa oleifera seed oil from China seized at Taiwan's border

09/27/2022 08:20 PM
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Photo courtesy of the FDA
Photo courtesy of the FDA

Taipei, Sept. 27 (CNA) A shipment of Moringa oleifera seed oil from China was recently seized at the border, after being found to contain excessive levels of a carcinogenic contaminant, Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday.

The bottled seed oil totaling 540 kilograms was confiscated after sample testing on Aug. 23 detected 5.5 micrograms (µg) per kilogram of the carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), higher than the allowable limit of 2.0 µg/kg, the FDA said.

BaP is one of a group of chemical compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and is formed as a result of the incomplete combustion of organic materials.

The Moringa oleifera seed oil will either be returned to the country of origin or destroyed, according to the FDA, which also published Tuesday a list of 17 other imported items that recently failed safety inspections.

Among them were six shipments of fresh apples from Chile, which the administration said were imported by two different companies and contained traces of 2,6-Diisopropylnaphthalene (2,6-DIPN), a type of biochemical pesticide used to inhibit the sprouting of potatoes during storage.

Chen Ching-yu (陳慶裕), a section manager at the FDA's northern branch, told CNA that one of the firms that brought in the tainted fruit was a first-time offender, while the other has imported tainted apples several times over the past six months.

Due to repeated problems discovered with Chilean apples, since Sept. 5 the FDA has been inspecting every batch of the fruit imported from the South American country instead of the random checks previously conducted, Chen said.

Other items rejected and destroyed or returned by Taiwan customs include 909 kg of noodles and 530 kg of fresh peaches from Japan, and 360 kg of seasoning cubes from Indonesia.

(By Shen Pei-yao and Ko Lin)

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