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More food products recalled for containing banned dye

02/25/2024 07:19 PM
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New Taipei City officials inspect food items in the city's supermarkets over the weekend. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Government Department of Health Feb. 25, 2024
New Taipei City officials inspect food items in the city's supermarkets over the weekend. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Government Department of Health Feb. 25, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) More food products, including carrot cookies and white pepper biscuits, are being pulled from shelves nationwide for containing a banned industrial dye, the Miaoli County Public Health Bureau said Saturday.

The bureau said it has asked Miaoli-based Hsin Hao Food Co. to recall 4,302 boxes of carrot cookies and 192 boxes of white pepper biscuits found to contain Sudan III, a carcinogenic dye not allowed to be used for food processing in Taiwan.

The origin of the chemical was identified as Sanhe Drug Co. in China's Henan Province, a supplier of chili powder containing the dye to a raw material dealer in New Taipei, namely Bao Hsin Enterprises Co.

Subsequently, Changhua County-based Canho Enterprise Corp., a downstream client of Bao Hsin, distributed the problematic chili powder to Hsin Hao, the bureau said in a press release.

Problematic carrot cookies, white pepper biscuits in a carcinogenic dye contamination case. Image from the Miaoli County Health Department website at mlshb.gov.tw
Problematic carrot cookies, white pepper biscuits in a carcinogenic dye contamination case. Image from the Miaoli County Health Department website at mlshb.gov.tw

Apart from the snacks already distributed to retailers like PX Mart, the bureau has directed Hsin Hao to not distribute its remaining inventory of carrot cookies, white pepper biscuits, and chili powder.

Sudan dyes are a group of industrial dyes consisting of several red colors -- including Sudan I, II, III, and IV -- which are listed as toxic chemical substances by Taiwan's Ministry of Environment's Chemicals Administration.

The case of Sudan dyes came to light when chili powder from Taipei-based spice company Chiseng Hong Ltd. was found on Jan. 30 to contain the chemical, which was sourced from Bao Hsin.

The discovery led to random inspections that have so far shown three batches of problematic chili powder supplied by Bao Hsin, Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration said, adding that 3,528.3 kilograms of it have been recalled as of Feb. 23.

A portion of the chemicals were also used in the production of 31,208.65 kg of spicy shrimp chips under the renowned snack brand "Hsia Wei Hsien," the FDA said, adding that a recall is underway.

The FDA has conducted batch-by-batch border inspections on chili powder imported from China from Dec. 11 last year, which will continue until June 10.

The products in question were imported before the strengthening of control measures when the random sampling rate was 50 percent, FDA officials said.

According to health experts, long-term consumption of the Sudan dyes could result in toxic damage to the liver and kidneys, and may even increase the risk of cancer.

The dried pork products found to possibly contain a carcinogenic dye. Image from the website of Taichung's food safety department at fds.taichung.gov.tw
The dried pork products found to possibly contain a carcinogenic dye. Image from the website of Taichung's food safety department at fds.taichung.gov.tw

(By Lu Kang-chun, Chen Yi-hsuan, Shen Pei-yao and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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