Mon, Dec 29, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Stinky tofu maker fined over filth in New Taipei City

FOUL FINDINGS:Agency inspections spotted eight problems, but an ‘Apple Daily’ report said workers washed their hands in a barrel used to clean tofu

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

New Taipei City’s Public Health Department yesterday issued a NT$60,000 fine on a stinky tofu manufacturer in the municipality’s Shenkeng District (深坑), citing an unhygienic production process.

“The department received an anonymous complaint on Nov. 25 that an unnamed tofu factory and a stinky tofu producer named Shenkeng Wang’s Uniquely Stinky Hometown (深坑王家獨臭之鄉) in the district appeared filthy and unsanitary,” the department said in a news release.

Following inspections of the two factories on Nov. 27, Nov. 28 and Dec. 16, the agency said it found that they belonged to the same operator and violated eight regulations stipulated in the Food Good Hygienic Practices.

The violations were identified as a damaged ceiling and filthy extractor fan; failure to store food ingredients above the floor; lack of an anti-dust screen at the entrance; improper management of food additives; failure to offer records of employees’ physical exams; inability to present their water towers’ cleaning records; lack of sterilization records; and unshaded light bulbs.

“As the factories failed to make the necessary improvements within the given deadline, the department imposed the NT$60,000 fine and demanded that they improve the conditions to a legally required extent within seven days or face a mandatory suspension,” the agency said.

The department issued the release hours after the Chinese-language Apple Daily newspaper published an article on a series of unsanitary practices by employees.

“The factory’s floor and wall were covered with filth and stains. Ingredients and utensils were dirty and scattered around the site, emitting an acidic smell. Some of the employees smoked while making tofu with their bare hands and did nothing when cigarette ash fell off and ended up ruining the foods,” the article said. “Because there was no water in the bathroom, the workers just washed their hands in a large barrel of water that they used to clean tofu.”

Neither factory has a registration certificate, the agency said, and on Dec. 2 it asked the municipality’s Economic Development Department to handle the issue.

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