KOREA - The Chinese government ordered a recall of six types of South Korean instant noodles Friday that were found to contain benzopyrene, a substance classified as a carcinogen.
China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine announced on its website that it had ordered importers to immediately recall the noodles. It also directed its affiliated agencies to strengthen inspections to keep the products out.
"The KFDA confirmed the detection of benzopyrene in the six (types of) noodles. We are blocking the inflow of the noodles as such products do not meet China's quality standards, either," a Chinese official was quoted as saying according to Chinese media.
The decision came after the Korea Food and Drug Administration ordered a recall of the products on Thursday. The food inspection authority found in June an excess amount of benzopyrene in the powdered soup seasoning in six of Nongshim's ramen brands.
The list of noodles produced by Korea's largest instant noodle maker and reported to contain the toxic substance includes Neoguri, Saewootang Keun Sabalmyeon and Saeng Saeng Woodong.
Bejing's Chaoyang district, an area known to be dense with Koreans, had 1,500 boxes of the noodles found in local department stores and supermarkets that were recalled for disposal.
Chinese authorities, however, said the toxic substance was not found in Nongshim products made in China. Most of the company's noodles sold in China are produced in Shanghai, Shenyang of Liaoning Province and Qingdao of Shandong Province.
KFDA did not issue a recall order four months ago, judging that the amount of the toxin present was harmless to humans. It did not reveal the report to the public.
It only decided to order the recall last week after lawmakers severely criticised the decision after finding out about the issue during the latest parliamentary audit and inspection.