VietNamNet Bridge – After Chinese e-newspapers revealed that dried sunflower seeds produced in Zhejiang Province contained dangerous levels of aluminium and talcum powder, the Vietnam Food Administration announced plans to test dried sunflower seeds imported from China for these carcinogens.
China-imported sunflower seeds will be tested for carcinogens.
However, many packaged sunflower seeds on sale in Viet Nam lack a label of origin.
Dried or roasted sunflower seeds are typically consumed in Viet Nam and China as snacks during the Lunar New Year festival.
Aluminium keeps the seeds brittle and sweet-smelling for a long time, but it is believed to harm the nervous system when consumed in excess. The metal also causes memory loss and brain atrophy, the Chinese media reported.
Talcum powder, which makes the seeds visually appealing, contains known carcinogens.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Health permits the substances to be used in food manufacture and processing as additives, but only in certain products. Aluminium sulphate can be used in wrapped vegetables and aluminium amoni sulphate can be added to fried seafood, while talcum powder can be included in formula and some dairy products.
Food safety and quality supervision agencies in China have not yet published the news.