Taipei finds high levels of colon bacillus in 4 stores' cold noodles

TAIPEI - Taipei's Department of Health (DOH) yesterday said it has discovered high levels of colon bacillus in the sesame sauce cold noodles served by four restaurants in the city, adding that those restaurants will each be fined NT$30,000 (S$1264.70).

Cold noodles with sesame sauce is a popular Taiwanese cuisine in summer. In order to ensure food hygiene and safety for citizens, the department in June and July inspected the food products of 50 restaurants, convenience stores and hypermarkets which serve the sesame sauce cold noodles.

The department said it inspected each of the 50 stores on two separate occasions. The first inspection result found that 25 of the stores failed to reach the standard for hygiene in their sesame sauce cold noodles, authorities said, adding that after the department gave those stores a period of time to improve, most achieved satisfactory results at the second inspection.

High levels of colon bacillus, however, were still found in the sesame sauce cold noodles of four stores in the second inspection, an official of the DOH said, adding that those stores will be fined NT$30,000 for violating the Act Governing Food Sanitation.

Chiu Hsiu-yi, head of the DOH's Food and Drug Division Department, said eating food that contains colon bacillus has the potential to lead to diarrhoea, adding that in the most serious circumstance, the bacteria will cause the patient become dehydrated.

The official said the department discovered that most of the 50 stores stored the noodles in refrigerators; however, the sauces were not stored in cool environments. The DOH said the bacteria was found in the sauces.

The department urged restaurant owners to wash cucumbers, one of the major ingredients in sesame cold noodles, before using a kitchen grater to peel the cucumbers and put it in the noodles.

As the bacteria easily reproduces in room temperature, the department urged restaurant owners to store their ingredients and sauces in the refrigerator. It also urged owners to keep their working environments clean, and to use fresh food ingredients.