TAIPEI, Taiwan - Several food products failing to match health standards were revealed yesterday by the Taipei City Department of Health (DOH).
In combating the current food scare, the DOH has been conducting inspections at tea chains, shaved ice chains and many other restaurants that sell beverages.
The DOH released a report yesterday, publishing the results of the latest round of inspections.
Among 181 items tested, four were found to contain contaminating coliform bacteria exceeding the allowable amount, including Taro Ball No.3 and Noodle Jelly Crushed Ice from Meet Fresh, one of the nation's most popular ice and beverage chains for several years, famous for the Taiwanese desserts they serve at a relatively modest price.
The other two products that failed to meet health regulations standards are Winter Melon Green Tea from Milkshop Yong-ji branch, and milk tea from Sister Hua's Italian Restaurant. According to DOH officials, coliform bacteria are often used to detect and estimate the level of fecal contamination in water, environment, and food.
Though products found containing coliform bacteria over the allowable amount will not necessarily cause illness, it implies that the sanitary conditions under which the food is produced or stored are unclean.
Companies will have to improve production and storage conditions, including introducing hand-washing for workers in order to pass re-inspection.
Chemical Residues Also Found in Zongzi: DOH
With the Dragon Boat Festival coming up next weekend, the DOH inspected several manufacturers and stores that sell products related to the festival celebrations, including leaves and fillings used to prepare the local Zongzi delicacy.
According to the DOH, since the end of April, officials have collected 100 items from shops and traditional markets, some of which contained chemical contaminations exceeding the allowable amounts.
Products that failed to meet regulations include salted mustard from Yuan Feng, Ting Han and Liang Mao food manufacturers, respectively containing sulphur dioxide at 0.20, 0.69, and 0.06 grams per kilogram. The legally allowable amount of sulphur dioxide residue in agricultural food products is 0.03 grams per kilogram.
All products have been ordered off the shelves, and owners may be punished with a fine ranging from NT$30,000 (S$1,300) to NT$3 million. Please check the DOH's website at http://health.gov.taipei/default.aspx for more information.