Banned substance found in preserved fruits packet in HCMC market

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Ho Chi Minh City environmental police said Thursday a banned substance has been detected in imported dried fruit products seized from a local market.

Police seized a sample of Preserved Fruits products from a kiosk in the An Dong Market in District 5 during a regular inspection on May 3.

The fruits were wrapped in plastic packs carrying the label of Kim Seng Industrial Co. Ltd., written in Chinese language.

However, on the back of the pack, another paper label written in Vietnamese said the products come from Thailand. 

Subsequent tests conducted by the HCMC Institute of Hygiene and Public Health found sodium cyclamate an artificial sweetener banned by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health in the dried fruits.

Sodium cyclamate was banned in the US after reports said large quantities of the substance could cause liver damage, bladder cancer, birth mutations and defects, reduce testosterone or shrivel the testicles.

Tests also found an excessive content of saccharin also an artificial sweetener in the products: 31 times higher than the allowed content.

Luong Dieu Minh, the 48-year-old owner of the Binh Thien kiosk, told police he had been selling the preserved fruits since last November.

He said he sold around 30 kilograms of the dried fruit product each month.

Minh said he used to by the products from the Binh Tay Market in HCMC.

Police are tracking down the supplier of the products, suspected to have been illegally imported into Vietnam.

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