Importer says Stornaway tea comes from Iran
Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA, ) will soon launch a comprehensive inspection of beverage chains to address consumers’ concerns about the presence of pesticide residues in their drinks, the agency announced Wednesday.
Beverage chains will be fined between NT$60,000 and NT$200 million ( US$1,920-US$6.4 million) and brought to justice if they are found to have violated the Standards for Pesticide Residue Limits in Foods, FDA Director-General Chiang Yu-mei ( ) told reporters before a hearing of the Leg- islature’s environmental hygiene committee.
FDA Southern Center Deputy Director Liu Fang-ming said the administration inspected 7,231 agricultural products on the market over the last three years, including 363 herbal teas, but none of them were found to contain the insecticide DDT.
The move was announced after a rose tea drink sold at a well-known tea store chain was withdrawn when the tea was found to contain traces of DDT, an insecticide longbanned because of the damage it causes to the environment.
Stornaway ( ), a Tainan City-based chain that sells what it calls English black tea, apologized on Tuesday and said the batch of 70 kilograms of rose tea had been removed from the shelves of its 96 outlets around Taiwan following the discovery of toxic insecticide.
Health officials in Miaoli County took samples of the rose tea leaves from the chain’s Miaoli outlet for tests last week after a consumer complained of feeling dizzy after drinking it. The tests revealed traces of various agricultural chemicals, including DDT.
The FDA said Wednesday that the chain’s rose tea was bought from Taipei-based herb importer Chou Jae Trading Co. ( ), which sourced the tea from Kaohsiung-based Yuen Yeeh Enterprise Co. ( ).
The Kaohsiung company said the tea came from a batch of 4,500 kilograms of rose tea imported from Iran on Aug. 7, 2014, but the label on the tea’s packaging showed it as being imported from Germany rather than Iran, the country of origin on the product’s customs declaration, the FDA said.
The agency said Kaohsiung’s municipal health department is investigating the issue to find out which company changed the labeling.