Some city fruit stands fail food safety tests: Taipei

TAINTED::The health department’s inspection tested a number of Taipei fruit stands for excessive use of substances such as hydrogen peroxide and saccharin

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Feb 05, 2013 - Page 3

A general inspection of fruit stands in Taipei last month yielded a total of six items that did not meet Taipei City Government standards out of a total of 52 items inspected, the city government’s Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

To protect consumers’ safety, the department conducted a general inspection across the city, including at stands around Taipei Main Station, Nan Yang Street, the business area around Gongguan in Zongzheng District (中正), Wuxing Street, Yung Kang Street and several tourist night markets.

The inspection tested for products that might have been dipped in or treated with formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, sulphur dioxide, saccharin and sodium cyclamate, the department said.

Excessive use of sacharrin can lead to a dry sensation in the consumer’s mouth and over production of stomach acids causing digestive tract discomfort, the department said.

It added that sodium cyclamate, though often used as a sweetener instead of sugar, can over tax the kidney if taken over a long period.

Formaldehyde is considered a human carcinogen.

An overdose of hydrogen peroxide, a weak acid with strong oxidizing properties can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, skin eruptions and ulcers.

Two of the items that did not pass the inspection had above standard amounts of saccharin, while four had added sulphur dioxide, the department said.

Of the six samples, three had been discovered in Tunghua Street Night Market, one each in Raohe Street night market and Shihlin night market, and on Linsen North Road, the department said.

It said that violations of the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) could incur fines of up to NT$30,000.