ANZFA stops soy sauce imports over cancer scare

Related tags Soy sauce Southeast asia

Australian food watchdog clamps down on soy sauce products
containing cancer-causing chemical in concentrations 200 times
greater than the acceptable limit.

Australia's food watchdog on Monday recalled and stopped imports of another soy sauce with a high level of a cancer-causing chemical - the 17th Asian-made soy sauce product withdrawn from Australian stores in the past nine months.

The Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) said a King brand "New soy sauce" imported from Vietnam was found to contain unacceptably high levels of a chloropropanol called 3-MCPD - 200 times higher than the level deemed to be safe.

This was the 17th soy sauce and soy sauce product imported from Southeast Asia to be recalled in Australia since August last year when ANZFA cracked down on foods with high levels of chloropropanols following the European Commission's lead.

ANZFA managing director Ian Lindenmayer said manufacturers had progressively introduced improved processes since Australia became tougher on maximum residue levels for chloropropanols but warned consumers to stay away from older products still in stock.

"It is apparent that some small grocery stores specialising in food from Southeast Asia sometimes carry older stocks that may pose a danger to human health,"​ Lindenmayer said in a statement. "I strongly advise consumers to avoid purchasing soy sauce products that have gone beyond their 'best-before' or 'use-by' dates,"​ he said.

Britain's Food Standards Agency last year warned consumers to avoid certain brands of soy sauce imported from Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan after finding unacceptable levels of 3-MCPD which can cause cancer if taken daily.

Lindenmayer said chloropropanol contamination could occur during the manufacture of soy sauce products when a process called acid hydrolysis was used, although soy sauce and soy sauce products made by a natural fermentation process were safe.

The products previously recalled in Australia were imported from Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and China as well as Vietnam.

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