Taipei steps up inspections at festival markets’

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 - Page 3

A random inspection of food items being sold on Dihua Street, a popular site for Lunar New Year shopping, found five vendors in violation of regulations, the Taipei City Department of Health said yesterday.

A team of inspectors found that packaged preserved plums in a pickled fruit store contained too much flavoring agents, while the expiration date for dried longan at some dried fruit stores was not clearly labeled.

Taipei City Department of Health Chief Secretary Jiang Yu-mei (姜郁美), who led the inspection team, instructed the stores to improve the situation immediately.

She said the department would continue to conduct random inspections of traditional food and snacks that are popular during the Lunar New Year holidays and would send staff to advise vendors to make necessary improvements.

“It’s important for customers to remember the basic rules of Lunar New Year shopping, which is to avoid purchasing food items whose colors are too bright, smell weird and do not have clear information tags,” she said.

The city government said the Lunar New Year festival markets have been expanded from the six major traditional areas — including Ningxia, Binjiang and Huayin — to more than 20 shopping areas this year, and the range of New Year’s gift products has been broadened by adding more areas, such as the coffee association and the Bade computer products district.

The annual Lunar New Year shopping festival will officially start on Friday on Dihua Street and around other shopping districts, and will run until Feb. 8, the day before Lunar New Year’s Eve.

While the city government has expanded the scope of the shopping festival, Dihua Street’s variety of goods and foods, ranging from culinary utensils to candies and ingredients used for Lunar New Year dishes, remains the main attraction during the festival.