PH bans 15 food products from Taiwan

MANILA, Philippines-The Philippines has banned 15 food products from Taiwan which were found to be contaminated with maleic acid.

In an advisory dated June 6, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Director General Kenneth Hartigan-Go said the FDA banned the 15 food products because they were also not registered with the government.

"Maleic acid is not an approved additive for manufacturing food products. Long term consumption of high levels of maleic acid could harm the kidney," Go said.

"The ban shall continue to remain in force and in effect until such time that these products are first registered in the country by an FDA-licensed food establishment with proper testing for the presence/absence of maleic acid in the products," he added. The Taiwanese food products are Hong Tapioca Starch, Redman Black Tapioca Pearl, Sun Right Indica Rice Powder, Top 1 Tapioca Pearls, Tea World Tapioca Starch Ball, Unbranded Starch Ball, Ding Long Tapioca Pearls, Sun Chi Noodles, T & M Resources Corp. Tapioca Pearls, Pure Tea Tapioca Pearls (White), Pure Tea Tapioca Pearls (Black), Full Free Green Tea Tapioca Ball, Full Free Yam Tapioca Ball, Long Kow Vegetarian Instant Rice Noodle and Long Kow Rice Noodle with Thick Soup.

"The FDA shall continue to monitor the entry of food products from Taiwan into the Philippine market. All consumers are advised to buy and consume products that are registered with the FDA," Go said.

He said several food products from Taiwan contaminated with maleic acid were tested and reported by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore.

Go noted that the Taiwanese government had taken action against the food manufacturers and suspended the sale and distribution of the maleic acid-contaminated products.

However, he added that while the 15 food products had been "identified," they were not registered with the government.

"Pursuant to the Consumer Act of the Philippines and FDA Act of 2009, products contaminated with maleic acid are considered illegal," Go said.