Fri, Oct 26, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Instant noodles from South Korea contain carcinogen

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Imported South Korean instant noodles, the subject of a product recall for suspected benzopyrene, are shown in this photo taken yesterday. The noodles were taken from a shop in Jhongsing Street in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District.

Photo: Hsieh Chia-chun, Taipei Times

Two flavors of instant noodles manufactured by South Korean firm Nongshim are being pulled from the shelves in Taiwan after Seoul ordered the recall of other products made by the firm, which allegedly contain benzopyrene, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

According to media reports, the South Korean Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ food and drug administration announced that traces of benzopyrene had been found in the powder packets contained in six flavors of the firm’s instant noodles.

Nongshim’s most popular product, Shin Ramyun, was not among the six to be recalled.

Benzopyrene is an organic compound considered a carcinogen and is problematic because it can intercalate with DNA and interfere with genetics.

Tsai Shu-chen (蔡淑貞), chief of the Food and Drug Administration’s food division, said the items allegedly containing benzopyrene were being pulled off shelves under the Consumer Protection Act (消費者保護法), but the DOH has no authority to order a total recall of the firm’s products.

That is due to a lack of standards for benzopyrene in foodstuffs and because benzopyrene is not on the customs control watchlist, she added.

After contacting the importer, Hsing Ho International, the DOH received confirmation that the two instant noodles allegedly containing benzopyrene were the firm’s seafood and spicy seafood flavored instant noodles.

Hsing Ho said it has already pulled the merchandise and sent it to be examined. Test results will be announced by next week, it said.

Tsai added that the DOH would be in further contact with the importer and its South Korean office to ascertain manufacturing dates, the source of the benzopyrene and the amount of residue.

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