Date
7 December 2016
Expired pork and fish roe were turned into sausages and caviar by Hsienyang and sold all over Taiwan through chain restaurants. Photo: Udn.com
Expired pork and fish roe were turned into sausages and caviar by Hsienyang and sold all over Taiwan through chain restaurants. Photo: Udn.com

Yet another Taiwan food-safety scare

If you are visiting Taiwan, avoid these chain restaurants: Bravo Hot Pot, Dada Tea, Jogoya and No.1 Wellington Street.

They reportedly bought expired food supplies from Hsienyang, a food company in the southern city of Tainan.

Inspectors from the Tainan Department of Health raided Hsienyang’s warehouse Tuesday and found 893 boxes of expired pork and 172 boxes of expired frozen cod roe.

Hsienyang had been buying expired pork and raw fish roe and turning them into sausages and other cooked products and then selling them to restaurants, the Taipei Times reported.

The department has notified its counterpart in Taipei and asked it to trace the upstream vendors from which Hsienyang bought the expired meat.

I don’t understand why many people still say feasting on Taiwan’s food is one of the big joys of visiting the island.

For me, the island’s reputation as a gastronomic paradise has been badly tarnished by scandals over the past few years, starting with plasticizer found in cold drinks, followed by fake olive oil colored green with chemicals, and then last year’s selling of recycled waste cooking oil, which involved a powerful food company run by the Wei brothers of Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp. (00322.HK).

The latest incident will only further discourage me from traveling there.

There are reasons to believe the majority of Taiwan food manufacturers and eateries are run by honest people, but sadly there seems to be no lack of brazen players who won’t hesitate for a second to trade the public health for profit.

The problem is that it’s impossible to tell the bad guys from the good guys.

The government has taken some action, including imposing steeper fines and tougher sentences on violators, but the recurrence of food-safety issues shows the measures are either insufficient or ineffective.

It is said that there are too many unregistered food factories and providers in Taiwan, making them hard to regulate.

The Kuomintang’s dismal performance in last weekend’s elections is in no small way connected to its poor performance in upholding food safety.

Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party has now been elected the island’s first female president.

Apart from dealing with China and boosting Taiwan’s economy, food safety will be another major challenge waiting for her.

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FL

EJ Insight writer

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