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South Korean instant noodles seized at border for pesticide residue

01/17/2023 05:32 PM
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Photo courtesy of the FDA
Photo courtesy of the FDA

Taipei, Jan. 17 (CNA) A shipment of instant noodles from South Korea was recently seized at Taiwan's border, after being found to contain residue of a banned pesticide, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday.

A total of 1,128 kilograms of Nongshim Shin Ramyun noodles with tofu and kimchi imported by Taiwan's Shing Her International from South Korea, was confiscated after sample testing on Dec. 9, 2022 detected 0.075 mg/kg of ethylene oxide in the product's seasoning sachets, the FDA said.

Ethylene oxide, a widely used industrial product, is banned in foods in Taiwan as it is classified as a first-class carcinogen. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of cancer and cause central nervous or peripheral neuropathy, according to the FDA.

Chen Ching-yu (陳慶裕), head of the FDA's Northern Center for Regional Administration, said the Nongshim Shin Ramyun noodles will either be returned to the country of origin or destroyed.

The FDA will increase random tests of this brand of instant noodles from 2 percent-10 percent to 20 percent-50 percent, Chen said, adding that the last time the same item from the South Korean supplier failed Taiwan's safety standards was over six months ago.

Since January 2022, a total of 32 shipments of imported instant noodles, including product with and without meat, have failed to meet safety standards, according to FDA statistics.

Among the substandard products, 13 were from Indonesia, seven from Vietnam, seven from Japan, three from South Korea, and two from the Philippines.

Many of the instant noodles failed safety inspections due to the detection of ethylene oxide in the product's seasoning or ingredient packets, Chen said.

Meanwhile, the FDA also published a list of nine other imported items that recently failed safety inspections, including two shipments of fresh strawberries from Japan, canned meat from the Philippines, and peppermint tea bags from Morocco.

Chen said the strawberries were imported by two different companies, totaling 109.1 kg and 345.6 kg, and will either be returned to the country of origin or destroyed.

(By Chen Chieh-ling and Ko Lin)


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