Ministry of Health and Welfare Announces Results of Food Safety Tests on New Year’s Foods


The Ministry of Health and Welfare at the Food and Drug Administration has announced the results of the first food safety tests conducted on foods commonly consumed during the New Year’s celebration. To safeguard public health during the celebrations, the Ministry of Health and Welfare tested 1,161 products sold on sidewalks, in supermarkets, traditional markets, and other businesses and found that 84 of these products do not meet requirements, with an average pass rate of 92.8%.

Among products tested were soy products such as tofu, wet rice products such as cakes, nuts, processed foods, dried aquatic products, processed meat products, dehydrated and pickled vegetables, and preserved foods. The products were tested for the presence of preservatives, bleaching agents, artificial sweeteners, nitrites, and microbes. Of the 84 products that did not comply with standards, the highest percentage were vegetable products containing excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide, followed by soy products containing excessive amounts of the preservative benzoic acid and hydrogen peroxide residues. Excessive levels of sweeteners were detected in preserved products that did not comply with standards.

County and city health authorities have notified the vendors of products that are not in compliance with standards and requested that those products be immediately removed from shelves, in accordance with the food safety and health management laws. Authorities remind vendors and manufacturers that the use of food additives and food safety and health management practices should be in accordance with the law, and that food additives should be used minimally. Violators could face fines of up to $3 Million NTD and be ordered to close their businesses.

The Food and Drug Administration advises consumers attending New Year’s celebrations to choose unbroken packages of food and to pay attention to the product name, contents, and listed additives. The FDA cautions consumers to avoid brightly colored, pungent smelling, and unnaturally-flavored products, to store products properly, and to consume products as soon as possible after purchase. The FDA advises consumers purchasing lilies, bamboo, fungus, and other dehydrated vegetable products to avoid choosing brightly colored products and to remove sulfur dioxide before consumption by cooking products for 30 minutes in warm water, or boiling for 3 minutes, and afterward discarding the water and washing the pot before consuming these products.

Details can be found here (Chinese language).