Chem­i­cals found in tra­di­tional del­i­ca­cies

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

Prod­ucts of Hsin Tung Yang ( ) and I-mei Foods ( ), two ma­jor com­pa­nies known for their tra­di­tional Tai­wanese del­i­ca­cies and snacks, were or­dered off the shelves as the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA, ) re­vealed yesterday that some of their prod­ucts were found to con­tain chem­i­cal com­pounds in quan­ti­ties ex­ceed­ing le­gal lim­its.

FDA of­fi­cials have been work­ing with lo­cal health bu­reaus to in­spect food prod­ucts, es­pe­cially those com­monly used for the Dragon Boat Fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tions, as the fes­ti­val nears.

The re­port re­vealed yesterday that by June 16, lo­cal health bu­reaus around the na­tion had col­lected 628 sam­ples, 56 of which failed to meet reg­u­la­tions. Dur­ing the ex­am­i­na­tions, of­fi­cials checked whether the prod­ucts con­tain illegal chem­i­cal com­pounds, in­clud­ing bleach­ing agents and food preser­va­tives, as well as whether le­gal com­pounds are used within le­gal lim­its.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials of the Taoyuan City Depart­ment of Health (

) yesterday, most vi­o­la­tions to the Act Gov­ern­ing Food Safety and San­i­ta­tion were re­gard­ing high amounts of sul­phur diox­ide or ben­zoic acid il­le­gally used in food prod­ucts.

Pop­u­lar brands such as Hsin Tung Yang and I-mei Foods had prod­ucts that failed to pass in­spec­tions, of­fi­cials said. Both com­pa­nies’ Zongzi leaves, which are bam­boo leaves used to wrap up zongzi, the sticky rice dumplings of­ten stuffed with cooked peanuts and meat, were found to con­tain sul­phur diox­ide con­cen­tra­tions higher than safety lev­els al­low. For more in­for­ma­tion please check the FDA web­site at

In re­sponse, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of I-mei Foods said that the com­pany had tested their prod­ucts be­fore re­lease into the mar­kets, and all had passed their own ex­am­i­na­tions. They will be fil­ing for a re-in­spec­tion.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Hsin Tung Yang said that the sam­ple col­lected by the FDA is “raw leaves,” which will be washed and pro­cessed, re­mov­ing sul­phur diox­ide from the leaves, be­fore mak­ing into zongzi for sale. There­fore, the com­pany af­firmed that their prod­ucts are safe to con­sume in a press re­lease later in the evening.

Com­pa­nies Face Up to NT$3

Mil­lion Fine

Ac­cord­ing to the FDA, compa- nies vi­o­lat­ing the Act Gov­ern­ing Food Safety and San­i­ta­tion will be fined from NT$30,000 to NT$3 mil­lion. Tainted prod­ucts were im­me­di­ately re­moved from shelves, of­fi­cials said.

Of­fi­cials said that dried shrimp should have a light or­ange color and barely any smell, and if they look too pale, they may con­tain too much sul­phur diox­ide. Con­sum­ing too much sul­phur diox­ide could lead to vom­it­ing, al­ler­gic re­ac­tions or ill­ness. Con­sumers are ad­vised to soak food prod­ucts in warm wa­ter be­fore cook­ing so as to wash out some of the

chem­i­cal com­pounds.

Car­cino­gens Found in

Hakka Zongzi

FDA chief Chi­ang Yu-mei ( ) said that three of the Hakka zongzi sam­ples taken from a tra­di­tional mar­ket in Shulin, New Taipei City, were found to con­tain bo­rax residue. Bo­rax is a type of car­cino­gen, once com­monly used as a food ad­di­tive, but which is now strictly for­bid­den.

Chi­ang added that ac­cord­ing to the Act Gov­ern­ing Food Safety and San­i­ta­tion, man­u­fac­tures re­spon­si­ble for adding bo­rax to food will be fined a max­i­mum NT$200 mil­lion.

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