Saudi, Bahrain suspend imports of Asian soya


Saudi Arabia on Tuesday suspended imports of soya sauce products from five Asian countries over reports that it could contain carcinogenic substances. The commerce ministry also ordered the withdrawal from local markets of all soya sauce products from mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand until samples had been tested in government laboratories.

The ministry was acting on reports that soya sauce from those countries contained high percentages of a chemical substance, Mepd-3, which is known to be carcinogenic.

Similar fears caused Bahrain’s health ministry to announce a similar ban on soya products from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand late Monday.

The Gulf Cooperation Council — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — suspended imports of Spanish olive oil earlier this month over fears it contained a carcinogenic substance called benzopyrene.