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Food Safety Ministry orders recall of Chinese castella

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : March 28, 2023 - 14:39

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This photo provided by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety shows a mini castella product subject to recall. (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety) This photo provided by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety shows a mini castella product subject to recall. (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety)

South Korea's food and drug safety authorities said Tuesday they have ordered to halt the sales of castella products imported from China after they found a preservative substance banned for use in bakery goods.

“Mini castella produced in China and imported by PTJ Korea has been found to contain benzoic acid and will be subject to a recall," the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said. "Benzoic acid is a commonly used antimicrobial preservative in antibacterial ointment and mouthwash. It is used in some food in small quantities, however, it is banned for bread products in Korea."

This recall targets products imported on Feb. 13 with an expiration date of May 31.

This photo provided by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety shows a mini castella product subject to recall. (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety) This photo provided by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety shows a mini castella product subject to recall. (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety)

“It is found that the products containing benzoic acid were sold at supermarkets and e-commerce companies,” an official from the ministry said. The product was mainly sold at E-mart's No Brand stores and major online commerce platforms such as Coupang and 11Street, according to the ministry.

E-mart refuted the ministry's claim, saying it did not sell the castella product with an expiration date of May 31. But it plans to inspect its products in consideration of the safety of consumers. Major online retailers said they have suspended sales of the products.