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 Stories : LEE KUM KEE causes cancer
LEE KUM KEE causes cancer  From JL

  Monday, October 4, 1999

  Sauce alert probed

High levels of a cancer-causing chemical have been found in Chinese sauces used in many kitchens.

Health Canada is investigating after British health authorities ordered stores and supermarkets to clear the shelves of Amoy Oyster Sauce because it contains dangerous levels of the carcinogenic chemical 3-MCPD.

The sauces, including the hugely popular Lee Kum Kee oyster and soy sauces, contained as much as 3,000 times the recommended amounts of the chemical.

"Our food safety inspectors have been alerted," said a Health Canada official.

In Hong Kong, manufacturers Amoy Food and Lee Kum Kee said they planned to solve the problem by changing the recipe by the end of the year.

Amoy said it has stopped supplying its oyster sauce to the European Union until the recipe is changed.

But the company said it will not withdraw the sauces from sale elsewhere.

"Amoy and Lee Kum Kee have been around for generations. They are the Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola of Chinese sauces," said Victor Wong of the Vancouver Association of Chinese Canadians.

Wong described the sauces as the salt of Chinese kitchens, adding the public will not be too happy to see them taken off the shelves here.

"But the reports will help them make a choice," he said.

Original story from

Follow-up story: Thursday, October 7, 1999 Food inspectors check Chinese sauces