Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Agency blitz discovers chemicals in foods

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A report on Saturday by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found excessive amounts of chemical substances in foodstuffs associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Pan Chih-kuan (潘志寬), director of the FDA’s Northern Center for Regional Administration, said that health officials nationwide have inspected more than 655 products that are related to the festival, and found that 15 products, including marinated duck egg, 11 types of dried tofu, one dried orange daylily, one pack of sliced salmon and one package of disposable utensils are below standard.

Products that do not meet the standard account for 2.3 percent of the total tested. They have been taken off shelves, while the stores selling the products — mostly stalls at traditional markets — could also face a fine of NT$30,000 to NT$3 million (US$1,000 to US$102,800) for violating Articles 18 and 22 of the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法).

The egg yolk of a marinated egg was found with residual traces of benzoic acid, the FDA said.

Mainly a preservative, overconsumption of the substance may cause problems to the liver and kidney. The WHO’s International Program on Chemical Safety suggests tolerable daily intake levels to be 5mg per kilogram of body weight.

Dried tofu was found with residual traces of hydrogen peroxide, as well as benzoic acid, Pan said.

The dried daylily tested positive for residual sulfur dioxide, Pan said, adding that the residual amount of sulfur dioxide was three times more than tolerable levels.

The administration said if the public notices dried daylilies to be more brightly yellow than normal, they should not purchase them because the daylilies may have been treated with chemicals.

Inspectors also found food coloring in the sample of salmon, which was in violation of the law stating forbidding food coloring to fresh foodstuffs, Pan said, adding that the salmon also contained additives that did not correspond to its labeling.

“The package of disposable utensils had been found with excessive amounts of residual sulfur dioxide as well,” Pan said.

“The administration reminds consumers that when shopping for foodstuffs for their holiday gatherings, they should check if the origin of the product and other important information, such as the recommended refrigeration temperature, are clearly labeled,” Pan said.

Consumers should also note whether the shelf containing the product is located in a clean spot, whether the packaged food has clearly labeled ingredients, manufacturer information and expiration dates, Pan said.

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