The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating which parties are responsible for the falsification of country of origin documents for rose tea ingredients used by tea chain Stornaway (英國藍) that were found to be laced with pesticides.
Dubbed the “poison of the century,” dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), can enter the human body via contaminated food, water and air, and can cause chronic effects on the nervous system, causing excitability, tremors and seizures.
Some research has also associated the pesticide, which has been banned by many countries, including Taiwan, since the 1970s, with increased risks of breast cancer.
A preliminary investigation by the agency showed that Stornaway purchased the tainted ingredients from Taipei-based Chou Chieh Trading Co (洲界貿易), which procured the products from its supplier, Kaohsiung-based Yuen Yeeh Enterprise Co (原宜貿易), FDA Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) said.
Chiang said customs documents showed that Yuen Yeeh imported a batch of rose buds weighing 4,500kg from Iran on Aug. 7 last year, 80kg of which was sold to Stornaway and the rest to Chinese medicinal shops, according to Chou Chieh.
FDA Southern Center deputy director Liu Fang-ming (劉芳銘) said that because the ingredients were falsely labeled as being from Germany, the agency has instructed health authorities to ascertain whether it was Chou Chieh or Yuen Yeeh that tampered with the country of origin label.
The case was first brought to light by the Miaoli County Government’s Public Health Bureau on Tuesday after it found 11 kinds of pesticides, including DDT, in a sample of rose buds it collected from one of Stornaway’s 96 branches in the county last month.
The test was conducted in response to an anonymous complaint filed by a customer who felt sick after drinking a cup of rose iced tea purchased from the store.
All the potentially problematic ingredients, weighing 70kg in total, had been recalled and confiscated before April 7, Taipei City Department of Health said in a press release yesterday, adding that none of the Stornaway’s 26 branches in the city were still selling rose iced tea.
The FDA said individuals found lacing food products with excessive levels of pesticides can be fined between NT$60,000 and NT$200 million (US$1,915 and US$6.38 million), while the act of falsifying food labels is punishable by a maximum fine of NT$4 million.
GREATER NUMBER: The sorties might have been a response to the US and the EU expressing concern on Friday over China’s ‘provocations’ in the Taiwan Strait Twenty-five Chinese military aircraft and four naval ships were detected around Taiwan from 6am Saturday to 6am yesterday, including eight airplanes that had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and another two that entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft that entered Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ were a Y-8 anti-submarine plane and a BZK-005 uncrewed aerial vehicle, the Ministry of National Defense said. The aircraft that flew across the median line include two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, four J-16 multipurpose fighters and two J-10 jets, the ministry’s official Web site showed. Taiwan’s armed forces monitored the
Mask easing: Teachers are allowed to take their masks off while lecturing indoors, but students should keep theirs on, as COVID-19 measures ease this week The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday released new on-campus COVID-19 prevention guidelines, stating that masks can be taken off while exercising, singing, dancing, performing, taking photographs, dining, drinking, video and voice recording, hosting events, presenting speeches and lecturing outdoors. Large outdoor events organized by schools should comply with the mask regulations issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it added. The new guidelines came into effect yesterday, and people in Taiwan are no longer required to wear masks outdoors for the first time since May 19 last year. The CECC announced the easing of the mask mandate on Monday, adding that it
LUNAR NEW YEAR PEAK: Taiwanese who are in China should get vaccinated and consider returning early, as infection rates are expected to increase, the CECC said China faces five major problems once COVID-19 begins spreading there, with a peak in infections likely during the Lunar New Year holidays, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said yesterday. Wang wrote on Facebook that according to the center’s data, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in China is worth noting, as the new Omicron subvariants BF.7 and BA.5.2 spreading in China are highly infectious and are more transmissible than the previously dominating Omicron subvariants. “The virus cannot be eliminated even under China’s strict control measures,” he wrote. “Its policy
‘SEXUAL ASSAULT’: Taipei prosecutors said that cooperation agreements between Taiwan and the Czech Republic grant Czech officials protection against prosecution The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday reaffirmed that it would not charge a Czech official with sexual assault because he is protected by diplomatic immunity. The office released a statement saying it has verified that the man works for the Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei’s foreign affairs corps and is thereby protected from criminal prosecution. A foreign graduate student in Taiwan had filed a complaint alleging that the section head of the Czech Economic and Trade Section had sexually assaulted her on April 21 last year. The woman said the Czech official had invited her to his home and then forced her