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DG of Health Proposes Soy Sauce Food Standard

Media Release

4 July, 2001

Director-General of Health Proposes Soy Sauce Food Standard

STANDARDS to ensure the safety of soy sauce are being proposed by the Ministry of Health.

A consultation document on an emergency food standard for soy-based sauces was released today by the Ministry.

Food importers and other people concerned about the presence of potentially cancer-causing chloropropanols in soy-based sauces are being invited to comment on the proposal in documents sent out today, said Dr Bob Boyd, Chief Advisor Public Health.

"We are proposing this standard under the Food Act because excessively high levels of these chemicals were observed in some soy sauce products in the United Kingdom, some of these brands are imported here and some New Zealanders do consume large amounts of these sauces.

"We think consumers should not be exposed to the potential risks any longer than necessary as the presence of these chemicals in foods is avoidable."

An emergency food standard making soy-based sauces prescribed foods was the most practical and effective way of monitoring these foods, Dr Boyd said.

It would require anyone importing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, preparing for sale or selling soy-based sauces to satisfy a Health Protection Officer the products were safe before they could be sold.

To do this, it is proposed products meet a limit of 0.02 mg/kg for the chemical 3-MCPD. This limit is being applied in the United Kingdom at present.

Submissions are required by midday on Monday, July 9. If the emergency food standard goes ahead it will be gazetted and come into force next Thursday, July 13.

Some importers and local manufacturers are assuring the Ministry of Health their products meet the proposed limit. Details of brands that have satisfied the Ministry of this are being posted on the Ministry's website.


For more information see our consultation document on the Ministry of Health website for more information

For further information contact: Anne-Marie Robinson, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2067 or 025-802 622 Internet address:

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