Sun, Nov 26, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Cesium-137 found in diet supplement

THOUSANDS OF BOTTLES:The ingredient Extracyan, imported from France, has been found to be contaminated, and the pills containing it were recalled, despite passing tests

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A bottle of a bilberry extract dietary supplement sold by Uni-President Enterprises Corp is pictured yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration

Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業) has reported that a bilberry extract dietary supplement was found to contain an ingredient contaminated with radioactive cesium-137 at levels above the regulated safety standard and is recalling the product, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday.

The company had sent samples of the ingredient Extracyan — a cateco-anthocyanidins standardized extract of bilberry fruit — used in its dietary supplement Yu-bei “eye and brain protection capsules” (預倍保明智膠囊) to the Atomic Energy Council’s Institute of Nuclear Energy Research for examination.

The company yesterday notified the FDA after a preliminary examination found that the Extracyan contained radioactive cesium-137 that produced 477 becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg).

The FDA said the capsules were commissioned to and manufactured by Chung Nan Biotech Co (中南生物科技) in Nantou County, and 10kg of Extracyan used in the product was imported from France by Healthtake Corp (和司特) on Aug. 17 last year.

Eight kilograms were supplied to Chung Nan Biotech to make three batches of the capsules — two batches with an expiry date of Jan. 11, 2019, and one batch with an expiry date of Sept. 7, 2019, for a total of 3,328 bottles, the FDA said.

It said that 1,346 bottles in storage have been sealed and 1,982 bottles that had been sold are being recalled.

The remaining 2kg of Extracyan was purchased by another company, which has not used it, and the ingredient has been confiscated by the FDA for examination.

The regulation standard for cesium-137 is 100Bq/kg in general food products, FDA Southern Taiwan Management Center Director Liu Fang-ming (劉芳銘) said, adding that this is the first case of excessive levels of cesium-137 in Extracyan sold in Taiwan.

The company has been monitoring food safety reports from other nations, so when it found reports of bilberry products from France having been contaminated with a radioactive substance, it sent samples of Extracyan for examination, Uni-President spokesman Tu Chung-cheng (涂忠正) said.

Although the capsules passed inspections by the commission and the FDA on Friday last week, the company still issued a precautionary recall, Tu said.

People who purchased the products can take the receipt or bottle to one of the company’s Santa Cruz Organic Food (聖德科斯) retail stores or call the company’s toll-free service number (0800-037-520) for a refund, Tu added.

Additional reporting by Chang Hui-wen

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