Thu, Jul 07, 2016 - Page 3 News List

FDA inspections of rice, noodle makers find hygiene issues

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Inspections of fresh rice and noodle manufacturers by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that 90 percent had hygiene problems and 6 percent had illegal additives.

The inspections were conducted in April and May in cooperation with the local health departments of 22 counties and cities, on a total of 50 manufacturers and 92 items.

The FDA said rice and noodle products are major staple foods in Taiwan, but because they contain water and cannot be stored for long periods of time, it is important to make sure the manufacturing process, hygiene and food additives used in them are managed properly.

FDA Southern Taiwan Management Center Director Liu Fang-ming (劉芳銘) said inspections for Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) showed that more than 50 percent of manufacturers stored ingredients with food additives, or did not provide health exams for employees, neglecting the risk of infectious diseases.

Moreover, more than 40 percent of the manufacturers placed ingredients on the ground, which is unhygienic, especially when temperatures are high, Liu said, adding that some manufacturers added preservatives to their products and some did not maintain a clean environment.

Only two manufacturers passed the GHP inspection; the remaining companies were all asked to improve conditions and have since passed reinspections.

Of the 92 items randomly inspected for food additives, six were found to contain hydrogen peroxide residue — a germicidal agent that is not allowed in fresh rice or noodle products — or benzoic acid, which is widely used as a food preservative and is also not allowed in the products.

Liu said that if manufacturers do not improve within a given time period, they face fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$200 million (US$1,851 and US$6.17 million); while illegal use of food additives can result in a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$3 million.

He urged food manufacturers to maintain good hygiene and conform to food safety regulations.

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