Spices that put pot into noodles taken off supermarket shelves

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 June, 2007, 12:00am

Tainted spices for noodles have been removed from shelves by supermarkets, and some noodle restaurants have stopped serving them after traces of the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis were found in several food products sampled.

A spokeswoman for ParknShop said they had sold three of the four brands of tainted noodle spices - Itochu House Shichimi Red Pepper Mix, Hachi, and S&B Assorted Chili Pepper. The fourth brand is Assorted Chilli Pepper Yagenbor Nanami Togarashi.

'These spices are not that popular, so we only have a small stock, and we have already removed the remaining stock,' she said.

She added that they would not replace the stock until the products' safety was ensured.

'Any customers who have bought these spices should bring the receipt with them for a refund.'

City'super said they did not sell any of the four tainted spices, but had removed two other Japanese brands of spices from the shelves. Wellcome supermarkets also said they did not sell any of the tainted spices.

Noodle chain Ajisen Ramen has stopped serving the tainted spices and asked the supplier to recall them.

The government found a very low amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the tested samples, although the Department of Health and Centre for Food Safety advised that normal consumption was unlikely to bring about adverse health effects.

Nature's Path Hemp Plus Organic Chewy granola bars - also found to have traces of THC - were also recalled.

William Chui Chun-ming, education director for the Society of Hospital Pharmacists, said food manufacturers added THC to the spices to 'enhance taste of food and stimulate the appetite'.

According to tests on rats, consumption of as little as 50 grams of THC can have toxic or lethal effects. 'It is necessary to ban the food items containing it,' Mr Chui said. 'It's one of the dangerous drugs.'

THC is regulated under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

Mr Chui urged the government to tighten labelling regulations for food, and to ban the import of spices from overseas.