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Report: Carcinogenic Coffee Beans Sold in Korea

Posted October. 09, 2008 03:06,   


Coffee beans sold in Korea have been found to contain a cancer-causing toxin produced by a fungus.

Reviewing a report on toxic fungi in coffee products submitted by the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA), ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Lim Doo-sung of the parliamentary health and welfare committee said ochratoxin was found in seven products out of 210 coffee bean products sold here from March to August.

The toxin was found in Trinidad Coffee Korea, Korea Mcnulty and Baystar Korea with a level of 0.3 to 4.8 parts per billion.

A 2006 government report on toxic fungi in food also found ochratoxin in 38 of 66 sample instant coffee and coffee bean products.

Lim said, “The average ochratoxin level in European Union countries is 0.724 ppb. Coffee products sold in Korea contain a lower level of around 0.608 ppb. Still, the volume is significant enough to be of concern.”

The EU has a maximum level of five ppb of ochratoxin, but Korea has no standard.

“Numerous Koreans enjoy coffee. Still, we have no regulatory norms to control carcinogens in coffee. This is outright negligence by food safety authorities,” Lim said.

In response, the food watchdog said it will introduce a bill to set standards on ochratoxin this month.