Officials have intercepted a shipment of nearly 4 tonnes of fruit juice from South Korea for containing a banned sweetener, the Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday last week.
A batch of 3,920kg of DDakjoa collagen pomegranate juice imported from South Korea by Che-yi Trade Co was found to contain 0.02 grams of saccharin per kilogram during a border inspection, the agency said.
Saccharin is a sweet-tasting synthetic compound used as a substitute for sugar in food and beverages.
As Taiwan does not allow the sweetener to be added to fruit juice, the batch would either be destroyed or returned to South Korea, the agency said.
Taiwan allows saccharin to be added to only six types of products: candied fruit, carbonated beverages, sugar substitute, nutritional supplements in special categories, food in capsule form and effervescent tablets, the FDA’s Northern Center head Chen Ching-yu (陳慶裕) said.
Animal tests have shown that an excessive intake of saccharin could induce bladder cancer in white mice, but does not have an adverse effect on human health, he said.
Ten other imported products, including bearded tooth mushrooms from China, fresh strawberries from Japan, instant oats and fresh oranges from the US, and peppermint leaves from Egypt were also found to be substandard during border inspections, the agency said.
As mushrooms imported from China have often been found to be substandard, the agency last year stepped up the inspections of Chinese dry food imports to 50 percent of all such imports from that country, Chen said.
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