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Carcinogen levels in Taiwan's Cadina chips too high

Lian Hwa Foods pulls product, Department of Health says heat-treated food can produce acrylamide

Cadina chips contain excessive acrylamide (Taipei City Department of Health photo)

Cadina chips contain excessive acrylamide (Taipei City Department of Health photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A well-known potato chip brand in Taiwan has removed one of its products from shelves after it was found to contain a carcinogen exceeding allowed levels.

The product is Cadina’s tempura-flavor chips (卡迪那全天然洋芋天婦羅口味), produced by Lian Hwa Foods Corporation, a long-standing local business. An amount of 1,202 ppb acrylamide was detected in a sample of the crisps, surpassing the safety limit of 1,000 ppb.

The discovery was made during an inspection on acrylamide levels in foods from fast-food chains, breakfast stores, coffee shops, traditional markets, and retailers by Taipei’s Department of Health (DOH). A total of 20 samples were examined, including French fries, potato chips, coffee, deep-fried dough sticks, and brown sugar.

Acrylamide is a compound classified as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), under the auspices of the WHO. Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has drafted a guide for maximum acrylamide levels allowed in foods, though no epidemiological studies have proven a link between acrylamide consumption and the risk of developing cancer.

Food businesses are asked to follow the guide and abide by the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation. Acrylamide is often found in heat-treated food, but adjusting the thickness of crisps, among other methods, helps reduce levels of the hazardous chemical, said DOH.