Mon, Jan 16, 2012 - Page 14 News List

High levels of sulfur dioxide found in golden needles
北市抽驗金針 逾半二氧化硫超量

Orange daylilies in full bloom on Hualien County’s Liushidanshan on Oct.18 last year.

Photo courtesy of Lin Chen-ru

The Taipei City Department of Health (DOH) collected 58 samples of golden needles and snow needles for inspection, 30 of which were found to have excessive amounts of bleach and sulfur dioxide. As much as 51 percent of the samples did not pass inspection. Two of the companies inspected each had seven samples of golden needles that failed to pass inspection. The companies responded impatiently, saying that no one eats dry golden needles, and that sulfur dioxide is water soluble, meaning water would get rid of any residual sulfur dioxide, and they asked the government to change their current methods of inspection.

Chen Li-chi, Director-General of the Taipei City DOH’s Food and Drug Division, says consuming excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide can cause breathing problems, diarrhea, vomiting, adding that the standard is four grams per kilogram. When two batches of golden needles were tested, they found 30g per kilogram and 32g per kilogram respectively, which severely exceeds the standard limit. The results of the inspections can be found on the government DOH Web site at

The Department of Health’s Food and Drug Administration reminds people that when they are purchasing food for the Lunar New Year online or at supermarkets, they should understand how the storage and shipping information is printed on the Web site or invoice for the product being sold, make sure the temperature is appropriate when it is received, and that the outside of the package is clean and intact. Most Lunar New Year foods are frozen and must be heated, so they suggest following the directions found on the package closely, defrosting the product and amply heating it prior to consumption in order to ensure the quality of your New Year’s meal as well as its sanitation and safety.



1. residual adj.

殘留的 (can2 liu2 de5)

例: They found traces of residual toxins in the room.


2. defrost v.

解凍 (jie3 dong4)

例: Food can be defrosted in the refrigerator, under cold water, or in the microwave.


3. sanitation n.

衛生 (wei4 sheng1)

例: Sanitation is critically important for hospitals and restaurants.






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