Test results on noodles produced by South Korea’s Nongshim Co that were reported to contain traces of benzopyrene and were recalled in South Korea last month, showed low levels of benzopyrene that were within the limits set under international standards, the Department of Health said yesterday.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said shortly after South Korea recalled six Nongshim products, including two types found to contain a known carcinogen, benzopyrene, the agency immediately ordered two Nongshim-brand noodles sold in Taiwan — Neoguri seafood mild noodles and Neoguri seafood spicy noodles — to be taken off store shelves on Oct. 25.
In addition, the FDA said it had asked the New Taipei City (新北市) Government’s health department to inspect all imported Nongshim products and to send samples to the agency for laboratory testing.
Among five samples tested, the spice powders of two Neoguri seafood mild noodles samples were found to contain benzopyrene levels of 1.01 parts per billion (ppb) and 0.97ppb, the FDA said.
The levels of benzopyrene found in the tests were below the limits stipulated by the EU and the WHO, it said, adding that with a benzopyrene concentration of 1.01ppb, a person who weighs 60kg would ingest about 0.012mcg of benzopyrene from one bag of instant noodles, lower than the estimated average daily intake of 0.24mcg (for a person of 60kg) calculated by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives.
Because the amount of spice powder eaten with instant noodles is small, the exposure to benzopyrene is not considered harmful to human health, the FDA added.
At the Legislative Yuan yesterday, FDA Director-General Kang Jaw-jou (康照洲) said: “We will quickly do a background survey on all food products, and set a standard for the substance after we have gained enough information and have discussed it with specialists.”