Frozen seafood found tainted at ma­jor buf­fet restau­rants: Taipei health dep’t

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY SUN HSIN- HSUAN

Frozen seafood at popular buf­fet restau­rants was re­ported to be tainted with chem­i­cal com­pounds ex­ceed­ing al­low­able amounts, the Taipei City Depart­ment of Health (DOH, ) re­vealed yes­ter­day.

The DOH ran­domly se­lected 55 frozen seafood prod­ucts from tra­di­tional mar­kets, restau­rants, su­per­mar­kets and hy­per­mar­kets, in­spect­ing whether they con­tained il­le­gal residue of an­i­mal drugs, heavy metal, or other chem­i­cal com­pounds, as well as whether al­lowed ad­di­tives ex­ceed safety lim­its. For de­tails of the 55 prod­ucts in­spected, please visit the DOH web­site at http:// health.gov.taipei/.

The re­port re­vealed yes­ter­day showed that prod­ucts from two ma­jor buf­fet restau­rants in Taipei failed to pass the in­spec­tion. Frozen white shrimp from Eato­gether Q Square Branch ( ) was found to con­tain sul­phur di- ox­ide at 0.14 grams per kilo­gram, while reg­u­la­tions per­mit only 0.1 grams per kilo­gram. Its up­stream sup­plier was traced to Hai Yang Trade Co Ltd. (

), in New Taipei City, DOH of­fi­cials said.

Crab from Spice Mar­ket Es­lite Branch ( ) was also tested and found to con­tain 0.18 grams per kilo­gram of sul­phur diox­ide, a sub­stance en­tirely for­bid­den in crab. The up­stream sup­plier is Man Shuen Co Ltd. ( ), in Da­tong Dis­trict, Taipei, of­fi­cials said.

Ac­cord­ing to the health bureau, sul­phur diox­ide is widely used in the food and drink in­dus­tries, mostly as a bleach­ing agent and food preser­va­tive. It is pre­dom­i­nantly used in dried fruits and veg­eta­bles, soft drinks and al­co­holic bev­er­ages. Max­i­mal per­mit­ted con­cen­tra­tions are set by the cen­tral health bureau.

Cause of Asthma Re­lated

Of­fi­cials said that con­sum­ing too much sul­phur diox­ide may cause dif­fi­culty in breath­ing, as well as vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhea. It has also been re­ported as in­duc­ing asthma when in­haled or in­gested by pa­tients with re­s­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses.

Records show that around one in nine asth­mat­ics have a his­tory of asthma wors­ened by drink­ing soft drinks con­tain­ing sul­phur diox­ide, of­fi­cials said.

The DOH has or­dered the two restau­rants to stop pro­vid­ing the tainted prod­ucts im­me­di­ately, and said that up­stream sup­pli­ers will be fined from NT$30,000 to NT$3 mil­lion un­der the Act Gov­ern­ing Food Safety and San­i­ta­tion.

DOH of­fi­cials ad­vised seafood stores to proac­tively ask for ex­am­i­na­tion re­ports and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions when pur­chas­ing prod­ucts from up­stream sup­pli­ers. More­over, con­sumers should avoid buy­ing from un­known sources and check if prod­ucts have an acidic or medic­i­nal smell when mak­ing a pur­chase.

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