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Hypermarts remove potentially carcinogenic Nongshim Ramen

The China Post news staff--Hypermarkets Carrefour (家樂福) and RT-Mart (大潤發) as well as supermarket PxMart (全聯福利中心) yesterday began removing from their shelves all Nongshim Ramen (農心拉麵) products imported from South Korea. According to local news media the products contain the cancer-causing substance Benzopyrene.

The three wholesalers made the decision following reports that South Korean health authority had found all six Ramen products supplied by Nongshim Group contain the cancer-causing substance.

Benzopyrene is a yellow, crystalline, aromatic hydrocarbon that is a carcinogen found in coal tar and cigarette smoke. It has been rated by the World Health Organization as a Class-I carcinogen.

Nongshim Group is a large South Korean food conglomerate.

So far, Taiwan has imported two of the six problem Nongshim Ramen products from South Korea, namely Spicy Seafood Noodle (香辣海鮮味烏龍麵) and Delicious Seafood Noodle (爽口海鮮味烏龍麵). They are available for sale at major hypermarkets and supermarkets, and also can be ordered online.

According to statistics released by the Cabinet-level Department of Health (DOH), Taiwan has imported 59 metric tons of Nongshim Ramen products so far this year; 22 metric tons of Spicy Seafood Noodle and 37 metric tons of Delicious Seafood Noodle.

But Tsai Shu-jen, a division chief at the Food and Drug Administration under the DOH, said her agency has decided not to request the immediate removal of the two ramen products in question, because all the products imported after June are free from any health-related problem.

Tsai said that the top management of Nongshim Group already changed the ingredients of the seasoning packs for all its ramen products as early as June, soon after finding the cancer-causing substance in the products.

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