Eight items failed an inspection of food products traditionally eaten over the Lunar New Year holiday, a failure rate of 4.2 percent among the 191 tested, the Taipei Department of Health said yesterday.
The inspection was mainly of dried ingredients, including daylilies, bamboo mushrooms, wood ear fungus and spices, as well as fruits and vegetables, meats, nuts, candies, pastries and preserved fruit popularly purchased in preparation for the holiday.
“The Lunar New Year’s random sample inspection of food was conducted on 191 items and eight items failed, including seven that contained pesticide residues above regulatory limits,” Food and Drug Division head Chen Yi-ting (陳怡婷) said.
Of the eight items, four were Sichuan peppers that contained one to three types of pesticide residue exceeding legal limits, white radish, pickled cucumber and loofah products that had pesticide residues exceeding regulatory limits, and a dried daylily found to contain excessive sulfur dioxide additives, Chen said.
According to the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法), the seven items with excessive pesticide residues could incur fines of NT$60,000 to NT$200 million (US$2,003 to US$6.68 million), while the item with excessive additives could incur a fine of NT$30,000 to NT$3 million, Chen said.
Consuming food that contains too much sulfur dioxide can trigger asthma, so dried daylilies should be smelled before purchase and those with a stinging odor should be avoided, the department said.
People should carefully check packaging and labels before making a purchase, it said.
The department also recommended that people avoid too much processed food, preferably replacing it with fresh fruit and vegetables during the holidays.
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