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Costco Taiwan recalls cheese after finding of carcinogen

757 kilograms of mozzarella already sold to public

Costco Taiwan is looking for 757 kg of mozzarella sold to consumers. (CNA, FDA photo)

Costco Taiwan is looking for 757 kg of mozzarella sold to consumers. (CNA, FDA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Costco Taiwan is recalling a brand of mozzarella cheese after the find of the potentially cancer-causing ethylene oxide, reports said Saturday (July 8).

The issue came to light after a consumer received a notice from the retailer recalling the product, CNA reported. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was investigating the case, while emphasizing that ethylene oxide was a banned substance, and therefore no residue of the chemical should be found on food products.

The Costco staff member who reportedly informed the consumer about the recall told him that ethylene oxide was a legal food additive in the United States. However, the employee did not comment on relevant regulations in Taiwan, the report said.

According to the FDA, ingesting the chemical might affect skin and eyes, eventually cause cancer, and harm unborn children. Only a minority of countries, including the U.S. and Canada, allowed the presence of ethylene oxide in spices and sesame.

An estimated 757.52 kilograms of the “Formaggio Fresh Mozzarella” had been sold to the public, UDN reported. The 0.68 kg boxes involved were imported from the U.S., showed a sell-by date of July 19, with tests finding 1,277 parts per million (ppm) of ethylene oxide.

The tests were conducted after a separate batch of 456.96 kg had been destroyed following a border inspection by the FDA which turned up 1.407 ppm of the chemical.

In May, Costco Taiwan was barred from selling several varieties of imported frozen berries for a month after inspections found the hepatitis A virus.