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October 26, 2012

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SK noodles recalled after detection of carcinogen

SHANGHAI'S market watchdog yesterday ordered local supermarkets to check inspection certificates and reports of imported food they sell after six types of Nongshim instant noodles made in South Korea were found to contain carcinogenic substances in that country.

It did not order Nongshim's products off shelves, though.

Nongshim Shanghai said the blacklisted products are not available in the city.

Nongshim products sold in Shanghai don't include the types listed in previous media reports, and they are manufactured in its factory in the city rather than imported from South Korea, said Wu Jing, an employee with the business department of the Shanghai branch of the leading instant noodle manufacturer.

Some big retailers in Shanghai such as NGS said they don't sell the products involved in the food scandal.

NGS did not sell Nongshim noodles imported from South Korea or the types mentioned in media reports, said Gan Pingzhong, an official with NGS' quality monitoring division.

Supermarkets will be punished if they are found to sell unapproved food products, the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said.

Benzo(a)pyrene, or BaP, a strong cancer-causing substance, was found by South Korean food and drug authorities in the seasoning powder of six Nongshim instant noodles including undonn with shrimp soup, Taiwan media reported.

Supermarkets in Taiwan have taken two Nongshim products imported from South Korea off shelves, while South Korea's food and drug authorities have ordered a recall and are discussing the scope of recall.

The island imported from South Korea 59 tons of Nongshim noodles with the cancer-causing chemical between January and October, local media reported.

BaP is listed as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organization.

The compound is the result of incomplete combustion at high temperatures and can be found in fried, barbecued, smoked and overcooked products.

China has set a limit on the content of BaP at 6 micrograms per kilogram on barbecued meat and 10 micrograms on vegetable oil, while the European Union has required that the BaP level of smoked food should be below 5 parts per billion, or 5 micrograms per kilogram. The standard in South Korea is 6 micrograms per kilogram.

Taiwan does not list the content of BaP as an item of checks for imported products.

Nongshim said the content of BaP was small, thus will pose no threat to health.

However, the report has caused some concern among Shanghai's consumers, as the instant noodles of the brand are quite popular in the city.


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