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Tainted South Korean instant noodles recalled across island

TAIPEI -- The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday gave an order to recall two instant noodle products from South Korea, which were found to contain traces of the cancer-causing substance benzopyrene.

The DOH issued the order hours after South Korea recalled six instant noodle products made by the food company Nongshim Co.

Among the six were Neoguri seafood & mild noodles and Neoguri seafood & spicy noodles, the two products that were recalled in Taiwan.

The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) said that in June all six Nongshim-brand noodles were found to contain benzopyrene, an organic compound that is considered a carcinogen.

Tsai Shu chen, an official at Taiwan's DOH, said the department will seek more detailed information on the amount and source of the benzopyrene found in the South Korean noodles but in the meantime has recalled the two types sold in Taiwan.

The DOH will evaluate the information from South Korea on the products and will have them returned to store shelves if they are found to be safe, Tsai said.

The six products recalled in South Korea do not include the popular Shin Ramyun noodles.

In June, the KFDA conducted tests on 30 instant noodle products sold in South Korea and found that six products by Nongshim contained benzopyrene, with the Neoguri series containing the highest level of 4.7 parts per billion, according to the country's Yonhap News Agency.

The cancer-causing substance was found in the powdered seasonings in the noodle products, the KFDA said.

The KFDA said it had delayed announcement of the test results and the recall order because the levels of benzopyrene found in the noodle products in June were minuscule and not harmful, the South Korean agency reported.

However, the KFDA issued the recall order after its commissioner Lee Hee-sung was pressed on the matter during a legislative question-and-answer session Wednesday, the report indicated.

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