Officials probe products
Health officials said yesterday they are still investigating whether food containing tainted peanut butter from the US had made their way to Taiwan. Six people have died and hundreds have been sickened in the US from an outbreak of salmonella suspected to have originated from peanut butter. On Saturday, US federal health authorities issued warnings to consumers to avoid eating foods which may contain peanut butter or peanut paste. The warning was followed by local media reports that Costco had recalled two products suspected of containing tainted peanut butter but that the notification came from company headquarters in the US, not from Taiwan’s health authorities. Bureau of Food Safety deputy director Hsieh Ting-hung (謝定宏) said that they were still in the process of tracking down the whereabouts of suspected contaminated products.
Bureau gives cooking tips
People purchasing Lunar New Year speciality dishes should remember to take some out of their containers before heating them up, health officials said yesterday. Some types of plastic containers used for take-out dishes are not microwavable, said Lin Syue-rong (林雪蓉), director of the Bureau of Food Safety. Consumers should look for the heating instructions on the product, she said. Most restaurants put their take-out foods in containers made from polypropylene, which has a melting point of 167ºC and is labeled with a “5.” This type of container can be heated for a relatively long periods, Lin said. Containers with a “6” or “2” on their packaging should only be reheated in a microwave. Containers labeled “2” are made of polyethylene, which is not suitable for heating over long periods, Lin said. The bureau advises that in order to avoid confusion, it is best to take food out of its container and put the contents into microwaveable containers.
Manufacturer recalls bikes
The nation’s second-largest bicycle maker, Merida, yesterday urged people who bought the first generation of Freeway CT03 and R3.0 folding bicycles to take their bikes back to Merida stores to replace a problematic safety device. Merida launched a patented safety-folding button between June and July last year, company manager Chan Fu-chi (詹馥旗) said. The device, however, can be easily damaged when users try to unlock the button forcibly, Chan said, adding that the company improved the device in August, before recalling 1,800 bikes for safety checks. So far, the company has notified 1,560 buyers but has been unable to contact the rest because they did not provide their personal information when they purchased their bikes, Chan said.
Books set for discounts
The Taipei International Book Exhibition will offer a wide array of discounts to visitors when it opens on Feb. 4, the organizer said yesterday. Linden Lin (林載爵), chairman of the Taipei Book Fair Foundation, said that this year’s exhibition will feature some unprecedented promotions. Around 150 domestic and foreign publishers, for instance, have joined together to give discounts of up to 40 percent to book buyers who make their purchases with consumer vouchers. Among other promotions, visitors traveling to Taipei by high-speed rail will be granted free admission after exchanging their ticket receipt for a VIP entry voucher at the exhibition’s information booth.