500 metric tons of U.S. corn seized for vomitoxin contamination
Taipei, May 24 (CNA) Over 500,000 kilograms of corn from the United States were recently seized at Taiwan's border after they were found to have excessive concentrations of deoxynivalenol (DON), also known as vomitoxin, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Samples of the 501,289 kg shipment of loose dried corn imported for processing purposes were shown to have vomitoxin concentrations of 2,437 micrograms per kg, higher than the legal limit of 1,750 µg/kg, FDA data showed.
None of the contaminated corn reached the market, the FDA said.
At a press briefing Wednesday, FDA Deputy Director Lin Chin-fu (林金富) said vomitoxin is commonly found on corn or other grains stored improperly in hot or moist conditions.
As the name suggests, concentrated levels of vomitoxin can cause gastrointestinal symptoms in both humans and animals. Contaminated corn most frequently sickens hogs and other livestock that consume it as feed.
Lin said the FDA conducts around 20 inspections per year for several types of toxins in corn at both food factories and retailers, and has not found any violations in 96 tests made over the last five years.
Given the violation, however, the FDA will increase the inspection rate on food shipments handled by the importer -- the Kaohsiung-based Taiwan Commodity Purchasing Group -- from 2-10 percent to 20-50 percent, Lin said.
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