High sulfur dioxide levels found in seafood

by Matthew Strong

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Excessive levels of sulfur dioxide and other restricted chemical substances were found in seafood sold at major supermarket chains, reports said Tuesday.

A total of 12 items were named in a report published by the Food and Drug Administration Tuesday. The government body inspected a total of 231 products at 199 stores, leading it to say that 94.81 percent of the reviewed items showed no problems.

A total of eight items contained levels of sulfur dioxide, used as a preservative, above the legal maximum of 0.1 kilogram per gram, while three items included completely banned animal drugs and one product was found to hold both sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde.

The sites where the problematic seafood was found included both market stalls as well as RT-Mart hypermarkets in Taipei City’s Neihu District, Taoyuan’s Bade District and in Taichung, and a Carrefour supermarket in Taichung City.

The FDA said consumers who buy fresh seafood should check the product for abnormal colors and smells, and should wash it thoroughly before preparing it.

Taiwan has been through more than a year of major food scandals, with adulterated oil and the use of industrial products in items for human consumption as the main concerns. Legislation to punish violators has been tightened, but in some cases, court verdicts have still been deemed too light.

Food safety is expected to become a major target for reform after the new Legislative Yuan convenes on February 1 and President-elect Tsai Ing-wen is sworn in on May 20.

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