Chili powder maker suspended for Rhodamine B contamination

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A chili powder factory in Ho Chi Minh City has been suspended after its products were found to be contaminated with industrial dye Rhodamine B, which is a carcinogenic substance, health officials said Friday.

Officials from the city’s Health Department earlier took chili powder and reddening powder samples from the Kim Nga factory in Binh Tan District for testing. They found the chili powder from 500-gram pockets produced on January 20 contained more than 51 milligrams of Rhodamine B per kilo while the reddening powder produced that same day contained 33.4 milligrams of Rhodamine B per kilo.

Rhodamine is an industrial dye used in textile industry and is banned by Vietnam Ministry of Health from use as a food additive.

The samples were also found contain other substances in larger amounts than permitted, the officials said without elaborating.

Kim Nga was forced to dispose of the powder in the batches that tested positive for Rhodamine B while 77.5 kilo of chili powder and 258 kilo of reddening powder that failed hygiene requirements were sealed.

The HCMC Health Department has inspected many other seasoning producers in the area but has not found Rhodamine B, said Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai, a department inspector.

Tests for the chemical have been conducted by health officials in many areas nationwide after it was found added to melon seeds, a popular snack during Tet, in Da Nang. Health officials in the north and the south central province of Binh Thuan also found the industrial dye in melon seeds and chili powder.

More food producers and retailers are being inspected as Tet is coming in ten days and the demand for food products is high, the health officials said.

Reported by Giao Xuan

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