By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Tests found excessive levels of the carcinogen benzene in cooking oil of the Great Day brand, the Consumers Foundation said Friday, though the Food and Drugs Administration said the levels were below the legal limit.
Over the past year, several laboratories performed tests on over a hundred cooking oil products from ten major brands, and the Great Day products came out as bearing the highest risk level, leading to the Consumers Foundation conducting more tests beginning last May, the group said.
At least three types of oil under the Great Day brand contained benzene levels over Taiwan’s legal maximum of 5 parts per billion, the foundation said. The European Union has the toughest limit of 1 ppb, Taiwan’s maximum is the same as that set by the United States, while the World Health Organization says up to 10 ppb of benzene is allowed in drinking water, according to the foundation.
However, the FDA denied that the levels found in the products had exceeded any legal limits. The manufacturer of Great Day cooking oil, Standard Foods, denied that its products were harmful, explaining that benzene occurred naturally in the environment, in water, air and even mother’s milk, a spokesperson said. The company added it did not exclude the possibility of legal action. [FULL STORY]