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Tainted snack foods from Southeast Asia seized at Taiwan border

A shipment of snack foods including corn puffs and peanut candies from Southeast Asia was recently seized at the border, after being found to contain excessive levels of a carcinogenic contaminant, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday.

The cheddar cheese-flavored corn puffs from the Philippines totaling 262.24 kilograms were confiscated after sample testing on Aug. 19 detected 13.2 micrograms (µg) per kilogram of the carcinogen aflatoxins B1 (AFB1) and B2 (AFB2).

According to the FDA, the allowable limit of various types of aflatoxins combined is 4.0 µg/kg in Taiwan.

Meanwhile, 575 kg of peanut candies from Vietnam were found to have 17.1 µg/kg of the same AFB1 and AFB2, it added.

Aflatoxin is produced by fungal action during production, harvest, storage and food processing.

Chen Ching-yu (陳慶裕), a section manager at the FDA’s northern branch, said it was not yet known how the products became contaminated by aflatoxin, but the problem likely occurred during the raw material sourcing to production process.

Foreign manufacturers are urged to strengthen quality control in order to prevent this situation from reoccurring, Chen said.

The corn puffs and peanut candies will either be returned to the country of origin or destroyed, according to the FDA, which also published Tuesday a list of four other imported items that recently failed safety inspections.

Among them were the “Karang Sari” brand of peanut sauce from Indonesia, cumin seeds from India, as well as grounded cumin powder and sea buckthorn seed oil from China, the FDA said.

Source: Focus Taiwan