No carcinogen found in drip bag coffee: Taiwan FDA

No carcinogen found in drip bag coffee: Taiwan FDA

No carcinogen found in drip bag coffee: Taiwan FDA

A local outspoken nephrologist has recently sparked controversy over the alleged carcinogenic risk associated with drip bag coffee products. Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that the filter bags found on the shelves in Taiwan are made of nonwoven fabric, not the alleged paper reinforced by a wet-strength agent, which is believed to contribute to cancer risk.

Dr. Chiang Shou-shan, a former attending physician at Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, warned last Friday that the filter bag is usually made of paper which contains a cancer-causing carcinogen “wet-strength agent” intended for use in maintaining viability while hot water is poured into the small bag of roasted ground coffee.

“Wet-strength agents such as Polyamide Epichlorohydrin are a type of insecticide and a type of Alkylating agent. They are highly carcinogenic and can cause oral and stomach cancer if you consume them with foods or drinks,” Chiang said in his Facebook post.

In response to mounting public concerns, the health authorities this week randomly selected 9 drip bag coffee products and tested the claim in a lab by putting the paper filters inside a Fourier Transform InfraRed (FT-IR) to identify unknown substances. The reading shows that the bags are made of two different types of nonwoven fabrics and the inner sides of the bags are all coated with the heat-resistant Polypropylene (PP).

FDA official Kao Ya-min noted that the nonwoven fabrics comprise an array of polymers, which make the fabric tough and waterproof, without the need to add the wet-strengthening agent as alleged by Chiang.

The official added that the PP can withstand temperature up to 140 degrees Celsius and resist both acid and alkali conditions. “With that, consumers do not have to worry about the safety of the products.”

Updated : 2021-01-21 07:28 GMT+08:00