Philippine beverage firm URC ordered to recall products in Vietnam over lead scandal

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Three batches of beverage products made by URC Vietnam will have to be withdrawn from the market, officials said Friday. File photo Three batches of beverage products made by URC Vietnam will have to be withdrawn from the market, officials said Friday. File photo

Officials have once again found high lead content in a number of products, after various conflicting test results​

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The Ministry of Health has ordered a recall of three batches of products made by URC Vietnam, a unit of the Philippine producer Universal Robina, after tests found higher lead content than permitted limits.
URC Vietnam will have to pull all affected products from a batch of green tea C2 manufactured on February 2 and two batches of energy drink Rong Do on November 10 and February 19, Nguyen Van Nhien, chief inspector from the ministry, said Friday.
Nhien also announced latest test results showing that the products from these batches have lead content from 0.053 to 0.085 mg/l, above the permitted limit of 0.05 mg/l.
Further investigations are ongoing, he said, adding that the latest tests were conducted during several checks by health inspectors at two URC facilities in Vietnam.
The National Institute for Food Control (NIFC), another agency managed by the ministry, earlier rejected accusations that it took bribes and compromised tests on the two beverage products in question.
“We are willing to cooperate with relevant agencies to find out the motives of those behind these rumors," said Le Thi Hong Hao, director of the agency.
Earlier some posts on social media cited an "insider" accusing two officers from the institute of receiving VND1 billion (US$44,730) from URC Vietnam to modify test results for C2 and Rong Do. 
The products were cleared even after they had been found to have higher lead content than the permitted limit of 0.05 mg/l, according to the posts. 
NIFC later confirmed that the products met safety standards. 
In a separate move, the Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) on May 13 also announced that in 10 random samples of C2 and Rong Do, the levels of lead were all within the normal range.

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