The Department of Health yesterday banned sales of a Japanese brand of aloe juice after the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare found it contained high levels of benzene.
The aloe juice produced by the Japanese cosmetics brand DHC was found to include benzene concentrations of over 73ppb (parts per billion), seven times more than the WHO's recommendation for maximum benzene levels in water.
The drink has been sold in convenience stores and through mail-order.
Benzene, which is carcinogenic, has been a cause of concern among health organizations worldwide.
The health department said that although there was no proof as to whether drinks containing benzene levels of more than 10ppb could immediately endanger human health, it prohibited the sale of the drink immediately after it received the information from Japan yesterday morning.
The sale of the drink will be suspended until "any suspicion is ruled out," Bureau of Food Safety director Hsiao Tung-ming (蕭東銘) said, adding that samples of the drink had been sent to the Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis for further examination.
Similar products will also be supervised more strictly, the department added.