Taiwan Finds 73 Products Tainted with Banned Dye


Taiwan has been hit by another food safety scandal, the third in four months, as authorities pulled tainted dried bean curd off the shelves across the island.

Taiwan authorities have found 73 food products tainted with the banned industrial dye dimethyl yellow. This was the third time in four months the island had been hit by a food safety scandal.

Some contaminated products have already found themselves on shelves in Canada and other countries abroad. Authorities called for all tainted products to be recalled and destroyed by December 20.

Bags of tainted dried bean curd have been pulled off the shelves across Taiwan. They contained the banned industrial dye dimethyl yellow, which has been linked to cancer in animals. The illegal additive had been used in a soybean emulsifier produced by Chien Hsin Enterprise to enhance the color of dried bean curd.

Dozens of popular food companies, including Te Chang Food and Wani Food, have been implicated in the food safety scandal.

Wani Food Corp food safety manager Chang Shen Liang said, “No company in Taiwan has been required to test for dimethyl yellow, so there is no way of knowing that the soybean emulsifier contains such an illegal substance.”

The use of this banned substance first came to light in early December. Hong Kong authorities had discovered the illegal dye in the Taiwan-exported Te Chang brand of pepper-flavored dried tofu.

Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since recalled more than two tonnes of contaminated food items. Chiang Yu Mei, Taiwan Food and Drug Administration Director-General said, “All food makers must report to us immediately. Local health bureaus will ensure all tainted goods are off shelves and destroyed.”

Those who fail to comply will face a maximum fine of $6.3 Million USD and a maximum jail term of seven years.

The industrial dye has escaped Taiwanese food safety checks, as it is unusual for it to be used in soybean products. Ms. Chiang said, “Now that we’ve found an illegal substance, we’ll step up our testing on soybean products. We will tighten food safety control, not only on suppliers, but also retailers.”

After a series of food scares in recent months, the newest scandal has dealt another blow to the island’s food safety reputation.

Source: Channel News Asia