TAIPEI, Taiwan - With the Lunar New Year only days away, consumers are in search of safe ingredients for this New Year's dinner amid growing concerns about food safety.
Representatives at Cathay General Hospital gave advice to help residents protect themselves when cooking, as concerns over food safety have been on the rise.
Nutritionists from the hospital gave suggestions on how best to prepare various foods such as mushrooms, shrimp, bamboo fungus, sausage, dried fruit and more.
Cathay General Hospital Nutritionist Lai Hsiu-i explained that fresh dried mushrooms should have a dark colour on their umbrella-shaped tops, have thickness and should not be too soft.
Some mushrooms that have a yellowish pigment near the umbrella fold may have been soaked in sulfur dioxide.
Lai also explained that bamboo fungus is also sometimes soaked in sulfur dioxide and should be boiled for 20 minutes, sometimes multiple times to ensure they are safe to eat.
Nutritionist Lin Yuan-yuan explained that shrimp with added artificial colouring will often appear red, however consumers should look for shrimp that has a natural orange colour that has no smell.
Lunar New Year is an extremely important season for food retailers, as families are preparing large feasts when having guests.
Supermarket chain Carrefour stated that most of their customers primarily buy meats, vegetables, boxes of fruit, fish, candies and cookies.
Carrefour representatives stated that prices for New Year's sales were determined in advance and that current prices do not reflect recent events in the food industry, even though the recent bird flu epidemic has had an impact on national poultry prices.