Taiwan seizes cayenne powder shipment from China containing banned dye

A shipment of cayenne powder imported from China was recently seized at Taiwan's border, after it was found to contain a prohibited coloring agent, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday.

According to the FDA, the cayenne powder, shipped to Taiwan by Long Hai Tong Ji Foods Co., was seized because the product was found to contain 7 parts per million (ppm) of a dye called Sudan III.

According to FDA division chief Chen Ching-yu (???), the use of the chemical substance Sudan III in foods is prohibited in Taiwan.

When the cayenne powder was seized at the border recently, it was not the first time that the illegal coloring agent was found in imported items from China, Chen said, adding that the FDA will ramp up its inspection of such imported products.

Yen Tzung-hai (???), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital's Department of Clinical Toxicology, said Sudan III is a soluble diazo dye used to color industrial substances such as oils, waxes and plastics.

When consumed, the series of Sudan dyes -- I to IV -- can break down into amines that have proved carcinogenic to animals, although that has not been established in humans, Yen said, citing the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The shipment of confiscated cayenne powder will either be returned to the country of origin or destroyed, according to the FDA, which on Tuesday published a list of 25 imported items that had recently failed safety inspections.

Other imports recently confiscated included fresh grapes and vegetables from Japan and a variety of seasonings from India, which all contained excessive levels of pesticides, according to the FDA.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel