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Hazardous coloring agent found in black sesame seeds from China

Hazardous coloring agent found in black sesame seeds from China

Posted August. 30, 2000 11:47,   


Following the discovery of the "lead-fortified" crabs and puffers, it has been discovered that the "black sesame seeds" brought in by the so-called "packmen" have been found to contain bio-hazardous coloring agents. The recent discoveries of the widespread hazardous material in the products imported from China have made a thorough safety inspection an imperative. The black sesame seeds which the individual packmen personally bring in packed in portable baggage from China and distributed in Korea has been found to contain one of the 15 hazardous elements in tar known as the Agent Orange #2. Accordingly, the Incheon port authorities have banned all imports of the black sesame seeds from China on Tuesday.

The discovery was made after the Incheon Customs Office requested a safety inspection of about 9000kg of the black sesame seeds which had been confiscated from the merchants between July and December of last year due to merchants having violated the excessive baggage restriction. Safety inspection was a required step prior to putting the seeds up for auction. The tests revealed that the seeds contained hazardous tar pigments, which shouldn¡¯t be found in natural agricultural products, and the port authorities have destroyed the seeds in their possession and further banned the import of the black sesame seeds. One hypothesis for the reason is that it is widely known that the black sesame seeds washed in water containing the tar produce a glitter in the seeds, which brings in higher prices. One of the agents of tar, the Agent Orange #2, is known to cause mutations. A researcher in the Food and Drug Administration in Gyeongin stated, "The Agent Orange #2 contains element which reduces the reproductive viability and genetic mutations. If a person consumes too much of the agent, the offsprings of such a person have greater change of suffering adverse mutation."