Taipei City’s Department of Health yesterday launched inspections of food products that may contain maleic anhydride-modified industrial starch as a nationwide ban on the use of the industrial starch took effect, and issued notices to seven vendors and stores that failed to provide certification or explain the source of starch ingredients in their products.
The vendors and stores were given two days to present certifications to prove that their products do not contain the banned starch.
If they do not comply, they face a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 (US$1,000 and US$5,000) for violating the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法).
The industrial starch found last month in various food products sparked a new round of food scares and prompted the government to launch inspections. The Department of Health last week demanded that the suppliers of starch used in eight food products — flat noodles, meatballs, oden, tapioca pearls, tofu pudding, rice jelly, taro balls and yam balls — offer certifications to prove that their products are free of the banned starch.
Vendors, convenience stores, supermarkets and wholesalers that sell food products containing starch must publicly display the certifications for consumers’ information.
Taipei Department of Health Chief Secretary Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) led a group of city inspectors yesterday morning on visits to vendors and convenience stores in Daan District (大安), while dispatching several dozens of inspectors to visit vendors and stores in other districts.
As of noon, the inspectors had visited 171 vendors and stores, and 96 percent of the sellers had followed the regulations and provided certifications. Seven stores and vendors did not have certifications at their places of business. The inspectors issued them notices of mandatory improvement and demanded that they provide the certifications within two days.
Chiang said the department has expanded the scope of its inspections to all food products that contain starch and will request those who do not have certifications to stop selling the products until they can present the certifications.