Taipei, March 8 (CNA) Three types of imported effervescent tablets were seized by Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after they were found to contain excessive levels of the artificial sweeteners saccharin and cyclamate.
According to an FDA announcement Tuesday, the shipment, weighing a total of 1,827 kilograms and produced by Dm-Drogerie Markt GmbH of Germany, consisted of batches of Mivolis Calcium Tab, Mivolis Iron + Vitamin C Tab, and Mivolis Magnesium C Tab.
In Taiwan, saccharin is only allowed as an additive in six types of products — candied fruit, carbonated beverages, sugar substitute, nutritional supplements in special categories, food in capsule form, and effervescent tablets, according to FDA guidelines.
The guidelines further state that the amount of saccharin and cyclamate used in liquid dietary supplements should not exceed 0.08 grams per liter, and 0.4 g/l, respectively, when dissolved in water.
Chen Ching-yu (陳慶裕), head of the FDA’s Northern Center for Regional Administration, said that this had been the first time in six months that products imported by Taipei-based German Diamonds International Co. had been seized.
The nonnutritive sugar substitutes saccharin and cyclamate were originally banned in many countries due to fears over potential carcinogenic effects.
However, subsequent research has shown them to be harmful to humans only in extremely large doses.
A 2010 article from Current Oncology stated that the average person would have to consume 800 diet sodas with saccharin daily to induce the carcinogenic effects seen in lab rats.
Michael Sveda, the inventor of cyclamate, blamed regulatory disapproval of the additive on “bad science” and lobbying by the sugar industry, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The shipment of confiscated effervescent tablets will either be returned to the country of origin or destroyed, according to the FDA, which on Tuesday published a list of 13 imported items that had recently failed safety inspections.
Among them, a 168 kg shipment of Kee Hiong Klang-branded soup spices from Malaysia was found to contain excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide bleach.
Other imports recently confiscated included fresh apples and cherries from the United States and Chile, as well dried mushrooms from China, all of which contained excessive levels of pesticides.
(By Chiang Hui-chun and Ko Lin)
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