PX Mart stores across Taiwan are recalling a brand of chili powder after it was found to contain a carcinogenic dye.
The Yunlin County Public Health Bureau on Wednesday found that the red chili powder produced by Chiseng Hong Ltd (濟生) contained 18 parts per billion of Sudan III, an industrial dye banned in food products.
Officials launched an investigation on Jan. 19 after receiving a tip-off from the public, the bureau said, adding that the chili powder is part of a four-in-one seasoning product produced by the Yunlin-based firm and sold exclusively at PX Mart, which is operated by Pxmart Co Ltd (全聯實業).
Photo courtesy of the Taoyuan Department of Health
The manufacturer on Tuesday said it had notified its clients to recall the product, the bureau said.
As the testing results are clear, the case has been transferred to the Yunlin County Prosecutors’ Office for investigation, and local health authorities nationwide have been informed of the finding, bureau Director Tseng Chun-mei (曾春美) said.
Yunlin County Commissioner Chang Li-shan (張麗善) warned the public against eating the chili powder, as long-term consumption of the dye could damage the liver and kidneys, and might increase the risk of cancer.
Since the notice was sent out, health departments across the country have ordered PX Mart to remove the product and have been inspecting locations to ensure compliance.
On Thursday, the Taipei Department of Health said that 1,091 jars had been removed in the city among the 11,824 that had been recalled nationwide.
The Taichung City Government said that of the 1,848 jars that were distributed to PX Mart stores in the city, 1,703 had been taken off the shelves, meaning that 145 had already been sold.
The New Taipei City Department of Health said it has sent its own samples for testing.
Other downstream producers that use chili powder from the original importer based in New Taipei City have been ordered to hold their products until further testing can be conducted, it added.
After receiving the notice from New Taipei City, the Kaohsiung Department of Health on Thursday recalled two batches of cayenne chili powder produced by Mares International Trading Co (瑪爾氏國際貿易), which used 25kg of chili powder from the importer.
The company purchased the raw material in November last year and used it in products manufactured from Nov. 27 to Jan. 25, it said yesterday, adding that six downstream retailers have been ordered to issue a recall.
Anyone who has purchased a jar of cayenne chili powder with an expiration date of Nov. 27 next year or Jan. 16, 2026, can take the product and their receipt back to the store where it was purchased for a refund, the Kaohsiung department said.
Additional reporting by CNA, Su Meng-chuan and Hsu Li-chuan
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