Taiwan adopts measures on food safety concerns

By Pia Lee-Brago, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 13 2013 08:57 AM | Updated as of Jun 13 2013 04:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Taiwan has assured the Philippines that it has adopted measures in response to the safety concerns regarding their food products found laced with harmful additives.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned 15 food products from Taiwan found to contain maleic acid, a substance used in making synthetic resin, which is an ingredient in manufacturing plastic products, automotive parts and pipes.

Maleic acid is not an approved additive for food products. Long-term consumption of maleic acid could harm the kidneys. Among the Taiwan products banned by the FDA were the Ding Long Tapioca Pearls, Full Free Green Tea Tapioca Ball, Full Free Yam Tapioca Ball, Hong Tapioca Starch, Long Kow Vegetarian Instant Rice Noodles, Long Kow Rice Noodles with Thick Soup, Pure Tea Tapioca Pearls (white and black variants), Redman Black Tapioca Pearls, Sun Chi Noodles, Sun Right Indica Rice Powder, T & M Resources Corp. Tapioca Pearls, Tea World Tapioca Starch Ball, Top 1 Tapioca Pearls, and Unbranded Starch Ball.

Taiwan Foreign Affairs Minister David Lin said their government had been quick to undertake measures in response to the issue.

“The Executive Yuan established an inter-agency Task Force on Food Safety immediately after the tainted food products were discovered, and publicly announced that the government would severely punish those who broke the law,” Lin said.

The Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Legislative Yuan on May 31 amended the Act Governing Food Sanitation in order to strengthen food inspection and management, and introduce tougher penalties for violations.

Lin said the Ministry of Health has ordered the removal and destruction of all tainted food products, and that a risk alert mechanism be established to enhance food safety inspections and management nationwide. He said the Taiwan government would implement border control measures to regulate the export of products containing unapproved additives.

Taiwan expressed hope that their response would show its “determination to safeguard food safety, prevent export of tainted food products and rebuild confidence in its food manufacturing industry.”

Lin said since the discovery of the tainted food products, the foreign ministry has been acting as a liaison between Taiwan and other countries while also closely monitoring public opinion abroad.