A random inspection by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month found 10 of 36 oatmeal products tested contained pesticide residues exceeding legal levels, including Quaker Oats products, the agency said yesterday.
The 10 were found to have glyphosate (pesticide) residue levels between 0.1 parts per million (ppm) and 1.8ppm, it said.
They were “Old Fashioned Quaker Oats” and “Quaker Quick 1-minute Oats” sold at Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福), Costco Wholesale Corp and RT-Mart (大潤發), “Coach’s Oats” sold at RT-Mart, “Bob’s Red Mill Instant Rolled Oats” sold at Pacific Sogo Department Stores Co (太平洋崇光百貨), “Fifty50 Hearty Cut Oatmeal” and “McCann’s Imported Irish Oatmeal” sold at City’super, “Australia Fine Oat Flakes” by Fuyuan Food (富元食品) sold at Wellcome Supermarket (頂好超市) outlets and oatmeal (大燕麥片) by Fengyuan Food (逢元食品).
Photo: Wu Liang-i, Taipei Times
“Among the items that failed the inspection, such as the products from Quaker Oats, several were products imported from other countries,” FDA Northern Center for Regional Administration official Wang Te-yuan (王德原) said.
The FDA said glyphosate is an herbicide often used in other countries, but because Taiwan does not produce oats, in the absence of a set maximum residue limits, zero tolerance applies to glyphosate residue in oatmeal products.
For the inspections, the detection limit was set at 0.1ppm.
The agency said that studies have suggested that animals can tolerate considerable exposure to glyphosate, and that it does not harm their nervous systems, but high exposure in rats has caused slight weight loss, enlargement of the liver and kidney inflammation.
Glyphosate can be eliminated from the human body in urine and feces, it added.
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has listed the substance in its list of Group 2A carcinogens — which means it is probably carcinogenic to humans.
As of 10am yesterday, a total of 62,339kg of the products that failed the inspection have been removed from shelves or recalled, Wang said.
The pulled items could have been sold in more than just the stores mentioned above.
The companies involved could face fines ranging from NT$60,000 to NT$200 million (US$1,842 to US$6.14 million), Wang said.
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