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Disposable chopstick imports to be tested

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection will sample disposable chopstick imports starting today to ensure they do not contain excessive traces of potentially harmful chemicals, officials said yesterday.

The measure is being taken at the request of the Department of Health, with the chemicals to be tested including sulfur dioxide, hydrogen peroxide and biphenyl, which are reportedly used by manufacturers to bleach, disinfect and preserve the utensils, the official said.

Noting that most disposable chopsticks sold on the Taiwan market are imported from China, Vietnam and Indonesia, they said any imports containing excessive residues of the substances will be ordered destroyed or returned to the exporting countries.

They also advised consumers, when shopping for disposable chopsticks, to select products that are clearly labeled with the utensils' dates of expiry and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the manufacturers.

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