The government is trying to obtain details of tests conducted by Singaporean authorities that found maleic acid in a number of Taiwanese-made food products, after differing test results on the same products were obtained in Taiwan, an official said yesterday.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been trying to contact the Singaporean laboratory that conducted the tests via e-mail, as well as through Taiwan’s representative in Singapore and the Bureau of Foreign Trade, but has not received any responses so far, FDA division chief Tsai Shu-chen (蔡淑貞) said.
Tsai said the maleic acid — a byproduct that indicates the use of industrial starch — might have occurred naturally during the manufacturing process, adding that the FDA has requested information on the testing methods used by Singapore.
Maleic acid was recently detected in a number of popular food products in Taiwan such as rice noodles, hotpot ingredients and tapioca balls.
The presence of the substance in the food products has been traced to a modified starch containing maleic anhydride, a chemical used in the production of food packing materials.
As of Friday last week, Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) had ordered the recall of 18 starch-based food products from Taiwan after they were reportedly found to contain trace amounts of maleic acid.
Among the items were four noodle products produced by Sun Chi Foods Industrial.
However, the company has said it does not use any modified starches in its noodle products, and tests conducted by the FDA on those products did not find any traces of maleic acid.