Wed, Oct 08, 2008 - Page 2 News List

DPP urges tighter control of drinks containing alcohol

VIRGIN OR NOT? Drink makers can be fined between NT$50,000 and NT$200,000 if product labeling fails to identify whether drinks are alcoholic or non-alcoholic

By Mo Yan-Chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei city councilors yesterday urged Taipei City Government to strengthen inspections on drinks with a small amount of alcohol to prevent minors from getting alcoholic drinks in stores.

The councilors called on Taipei City’s Health Department to conduct large-scale inspections on the amount of alcohol in soft drinks after receiving complaints from some parents that drinks with 0.5 percent of alcohol, such as “Beer Flavor Green Tea,” were available in the “soft drinks” sections at convenience stores, and were even sold in schools.

“Drinks like the ‘Beer Flavor Green Tea’ are categorized as soft drinks, but there is still about 0.5 percent of alcohol in the drinks. We don’t know whether they are alcohol or soft drinks,” DPP Taipei City Councilor Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群) said at the Taipei City Council.

Although drinks with less than 0.5 percent alcohol are categorized as non-alcoholic beverages, minors or pregnant women may still feel dizzy or uncomfortable after consuming such drinks.

The city government should strengthen the efforts to regulate such drinks and demand the companies add warning labels on the products, as beverages with a tiny amount of alcohol have become more and more popular in the market, DPP Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (�?�) and DPP Taipei City Councilor Lee Chien-chang (李建昌) said.

In response, Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美), director of the department’s food and drug division, said the department will launch a large-scale inspection of soft drinks.

Taipei City’s Education Department said municipal schools were banned from selling alcohol drinks.

Companies can be fined between NT$50,000 and NT$200,000 if product labeling failed to clarify whether the drinks were alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

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