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Taiwan bars shipment of tea, coffee beans due to high pesticide levels

Maccha green tea from Japan. (FDA photo)

Maccha green tea from Japan. (FDA photo)

Several imported food items, including tea and coffee beans, were blocked at Taiwan's borders recently after they were found to contain excessive residues of pesticide and other contaminants, the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday (Dec. 22).

The 23 items that failed safety inspection included a 3-kilogram shipment of green tea powder from Japan, branded as Maccha, which was imported by Taipei-based Sunrise Logistics Co., the FDA said.

The tea was found to contain 0.08 parts per million (ppm) of the insecticide thiacloprid, in excess of the maximum allowed residue level of 0.05 ppm, the FDA said.

Another tea product, Jonetsu Kakaku green tea leaves, also imported from Japan by the same company, was found to contain residues of the pesticide flubendiamide, which is banned in Taiwan, the FDA said.

A shipment of 200 kg of Kaldi-branded coffee beans from Japan, which originated in Brazil, also failed safety inspection at Taiwan's border because of excessive pesticide residues, according to the FDA.

Among the other food products recently denied entry to Taiwan were fresh oysters from Vietnam and black tea from India, Vietnam, and Germany, due to excessive levels of pesticide and heavy metals, the FDA said.

It said a shipment of plastic food containers from China was also rejected because of high levels of a bleaching agent.

The rejected products will either be destroyed or returned to the countries of origin, the FDA said.