Monday, 31 October 2011

News Brief: Preservatives in rice products could seriously damage liver, kidneys

Spot checks by Taipei City’s Department of Health of stewed snacks (滷味; lu-wei), noodle dishes, sliced fruit and other food products  found excessive levels of E. coli, TVBS reported today (Chinese-language article here).

Whether the bacteria found in sliced fruit sold in the HiLife convenience store (萊爾富) Xindong branch (信東店), and stewed duck wings (滷鴨翅) sold in A.mart’s (愛買) Jingmei store (景美店) were due to production and packaging processes or to workers’ sanitary conditions requires further investigation, it said.

In addition, rice flour noodles (米粉 and 粄條 ban-tiao) bought in a traditional market in Sanshui Street (三水街) in Taipei’s Wanhua (萬華) District were found to have illegal addition of benzoic acid (苯甲酸) preservatives. Although they looked like any other similar product, on opening the packet, the noodles gave off was a strong chemical odour, and were found to contain 5.19g of benzoic acid preservative per kilogram, meaning that eating just one bowl of noodles would exceed the maximum daily allowance. 

Contravention of the “Act Governing Food Sanitation” (食品衛生管理法) is punishable by fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 (ca. US$1-5,000).

Similarly, illegal addition of dehydroacetic acid (DHA; 去水醋酸) preservative was found in two samples of ban-tiao and one sample of gui-a-tiao  noodles (粿仔條). 

Longterm ingestion of preservatives can lead to reduced appetite, growth retardation and even serious damage to liver and kidneys, the DOH said, reminding citizens to carefully inspect external appearance and odour when purchasing foods for immediate consumption.

                                     Text and photos © Jiyue Publications 2011

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