A government agency charged with protecting consumers asked the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday to establish pesticide standards for hops, a key ingredient used in the production of beer.
The Cabinet’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) said a standard is necessary after discovering pesticides in samples of imported hops only to find that there are no applicable local standards to help determine if the levels pose a health risk.
The agency yesterday published the results of tests conducted on 20 alcoholic beverages and 19 alcoholic beverage ingredients — including seven samples of hops — collected in March from Greater Taichung, Taoyuan, Miaoli and Pingtung.
Six of the samples showed traces of pesticides such as carbendazim, azoxystrobin and dimethomorph, the agency said, but the amounts were all below maximum pesticide levels set by the EU, which has some of the world’s most comprehensive pesticide standards.
Hops used by Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation’s Jhunan (竹南) factory contained 0.06 parts per million (ppm) of propargite, a small fraction of the 100ppm standard set by the EU.
Hops sampled from local beer maker Malt Crystal Biotechnology Co contained 0.27ppm of the chemical dimethomorph, much lower than the 50ppm standard set by the EU.
Taiwan does not grow hops, but as the hops it imports does not all come from EU member states, the department said the nation needed to establish its own standards.
The commission said it had urged the department to establish a pesticide residue standard for hops, but officials had so far given no timetable as to when such regulations might be drafted.