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Taiwan Customs seizes 17,000 imported teabags due to chemical residues

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Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration

Taipei, June 15 (CNA) Some 17,000 imported teabags were seized at Customs in Taiwan recently, after they were found to contain high levels of chemicals, during a regular inspection, the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Tuesday.

The shipment of tea, which was being imported by Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store, included Earl Grey, Darjeeling black tea, rose tea and others, shipped from India and Sri Lanka, the FDA said.

Six types of tea, totaling 197.1 kilograms, were of the Florian brand and were found to contain residues of the chemical 2,6-DIPN, a plant growth inhibitor that under Taiwan law is not permitted in teas, the FDA said, explaining that the allowable residue level is listed as zero in the country.

Meanwhile, another shipment of teabags -- 48 kilograms of Ganko Uji imported by Taiwan Kaldi, Co. from Japan -- was also seized at Customs recently, the FDA said.

The tea was found to contain residues of the pesticide thiacloprid at a concentration of 0.07 parts per million, exceeding Taiwan's maximum permissible level of 0.05 ppm, the FDA said.

The two shipments of teabags will be either returned to the country of origin or destroyed, it said.

According to FDA division chief Chen Ching-yu, Customs inspections of food imports by Shin Kong Mitsukoshi and Taiwan Kaldi will be increased in the coming months, with random checks carried out on 20-50 percent of their imports.

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