New Taipei City seizes over 14,000 litres of problematic soy sauce products

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Public Health Bureau of New Taipei City yesterday seized up to 14,480 liters of soy sauce products allegedly containing an excessive amount of heterocyclic organic chemicals from an underground factory located in the Wugu District of the city, according to bureau officials.

The Health Bureau joined forces with the Taipei branch of the Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Justice and the City Police Department to raid a soy sauce manufacturing factory operated by I-Jiang Foods Co., confiscating those products with an excessive amount of 4-MEI (4-methylimidazole) and 3-MCPD. Excessive consumption of both is considered harmful.

Bureau officials said that as many as 2,896 barrels, or 14,480 liters, of 12 kinds of soy sauce products were seized for further examination, including soy sauce, soy sauce paste, white sauce, hot sauce and oyster sauce.

The health bureau has ordered I-Jiang Foods to stop delivery of soy sauce products to local distributors and retail outlets before the conclusion of an investigation.

Seized products found to have excessive amounts of the two chemicals will be destroyed, bureau officials stressed, adding that the food maker should recall all its products and scrap them.

In addition, the company will be subject to a fine of between NT$30,000 (S$1,246) to NT$150,000, the officials said.

I-Jiang Foods has yet to acquire a factory license and may be further punished for its illegal operations, the officials added.