A batch of chili powder imported from China was seized at Taiwan’s border after inspection for containing banned substances, marking the seventh case this year. Five Chinese manufacturers producing the chili powder are to undergo extra inspections, strengthening inspections on their other food imports, as announced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday.

According to the FDA, the new batch of chili powder seized at the border contained 9 parts per billion of Sudan III, a banned pigment, as well as 0.07 parts per million of chlormequat chloride, a type of pesticide residue harmful to human health. Both substances are banned in crops intended for consumption in Taiwan, the FDA said.

All the chili pepper imports have been either destroyed or returned upon inspection. As follow-up measures, all food imports from the five offending Chinese manufacturers will be inspected until mid-October, and half of all chili powder imports from China will be inspected for a month, FDA Deputy Director Lin Chin-fu told the press yesterday.

Meanwhile, the FDA also confirmed the presence of banned pesticide residues in two batches of cherries from U.S. manufacturers, following the previously seized 37 batches of cherries supplied by four major U.S. manufacturers this year.

Lin said that 0.02 and 0.03 ppm of the pesticide mefentrifluconazole were respectively found in the two batches of cherries, surpassing the government’s set standard of 0.01 ppm, though Taiwan has not stipulated regulations for mefentrifluconazole.

Following the FDA’s late-August announcement of banning U.S. imported cherries until September 10th, the U.S. responded swiftly on September 1st, offering two promises, including strengthening requirements for U.S. farmers and exporters to comply with Taiwan’s regulations, as well as monitoring pesticide residue levels to ensure compliance with regulations.

Sudan Red III is an industrial dye that has been declared a “toxic chemical substance” by the Environmental Protection Administration in Taiwan.

Yen Tsung-hai, head of the Clinical Poison Center at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, told Central News Agency that according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Sudan dyes are classified as Class 3 carcinogens, but as the chemicals degrade in the human body, they can be classified as Class 2 carcinogens.

Based on animal studies, Sudan dyes have shown a cancer risk in animal bodies, but there is no direct evidence of causing cancers in humans yet, Yen said. However, Yen stressed that most countries have restricted the use of Sudan dyes as food additives.

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TNL Editor: Kim Chan (@thenewslensintl)

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