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Shrimp snack removed from shelves after carcinogenic dye found

02/20/2024 10:28 PM
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Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Department of Health
Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Department of Health

Kaohsiung and Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) Several local government in Taiwan issued orders to remove a popular brand of spicy-flavored shrimp snack from store shelves Tuesday after it was found to have used a dye supplied by a food maker in Yunlin County that contains a carcinogenic dye.

"Hsia Wei Hsien" spicy shrimp chips, produced by Yu Zong Foods Co., in Kaohsiung were ordered removed from store shelves after being found to have used red chili powder supplied by Chiseng Hong Ltd., the Kaohsiung Department of Health said in a news release.

A batch of chili powder totaling 1,737 kilograms from Chiseng Hong was recently found by the Yunlin Public Health Bureau to contain Sudan III, an industrial dye that is not allowed in food products, the bureau said.

The Kaohsiung bureau said it was alerted about the matter by the Yunlin health authority on Monday because 8 kg of the 1,737 kg chili powder had been sold to Yu Zong Foods in the city.

An estimated 31,208.65 kg of spicy shrimp chips were produced between January and early February using the chili powder, the bureau said, adding that a total of 1,236 packs of "Hsia Wei Hsien" have so far been pulled from shelves.

This batch of problematic shrimp snacks has an expiration date between Sept. 8 and Oct. 2, it added.

Meanwhile, Taipei and Miaoli County also ordered the product removed from shelves.

According to the Taipei Department of Health, stores that carried this brand of shrimp snack included hypermarket and supermarket chains RX-Mart and Simple Mart.

In Miaoli, the local health authority said a total of 566 packs of "Hsia Wei Hsien" have so far been pulled from shelves in local supermarket and convenience stores.

Responding to the issue, Yu Zong Foods on Tuesday said the company is itself a victim, indicating that Chiseng Hong recently assured Yu Zong its chili powder is safe to use.

Sudan I, Sudan III, and Sudan IV have been classified as category 3 carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

According to the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), a brand of chili powder produced by Chiseng Hong was found to contain 18 parts per billion of Sudan III on Jan. 30, and an investigation was launched by Yunlin District Prosecutors Office on Feb. 16.

(By Lin Chiao-lien, Chen Yu-ting, Shen Pei-yao, Kuan Tuan-ping and Ko Lin)

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