French customs seized 140,000 sets of potentially carcinogenic kitchenware from China

French customs officers have seized nearly 140,000 China-made plastic kitchenware containing potentially carcinogenic substances, said French customs officials on Tuesday.

Analyses have revealed that the levels of these substances (primary aromatic amines) are up to 100 times higher than the maximum level allowed in Europe, said Toulouse Customs.

The primary aromatic amines can cause serious damage to health, and even become carcinogenic when they are in contact with heated food, said the Directorate General of Customs, in a statement.

The higher the temperature, the higher the rate of migration of harmful elements into food increases.

The case began in the suburbs of Toulouse in August when, under a new European regulations, customs officers have controlled a company that imported large quantities of plastic kitchenware from China.

Analysis by a laboratory showed rates of primary aromatic amines up to 66 times of the guidelines, according to customs. The target company, a wholesale storefront selling its products to supermarkets or specialty stores, then requested a second test from independent laboratory.

The laboratory has detected more than 100 times of the allowed level.

In the wake of this operation, the Customs has ordered checks elsewhere. In recent months the Customs has seized a total of 140,000 sets of kitchenware.

The Customs, however, admitted that those goods may enter in the EU elsewhere and then enter the French territory.