Top Pot Bakery hit with NT$180,000 fine
By Annie Yang, Special to The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Top Pot Bakery encountered a fine of NT$180,000 for adding essences into its bread, the Taipei City Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.
August 24, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
The once prestigious bake shop, Top Pot Bakery (胖達人手感烘焙) was revealed by a Hong Kong customer on his blog to be using flavoring essence in its bread.
The Hong Kong netizen questioned the integrity of the bakery, while the bakery business still boasted of bread made with sheer natural materials and zero flavoring essences.
The DOH came to the Dunnan branch (敦南店) to inspect the bakery's products on Aug. 22, and the essences found in use included nine flavors: longan, maple syrup, lychee, chocolate, earl grey tea jam, red wine jam, lemon yogurt jam, blueberry, and raspberry.
These flavoring essences may lead to allergies for customers who are sensitive, according to doctors.
Chiu Hsiu-yi (邱秀儀), director of the Food and Drug Division of the DOH, stated that the essences, which belong to food-grade additives, are not illegal. Nevertheless, flavoring essences are artificial, not natural, emphasized Chiu, given that the once distinguished bake shop attracts customers mainly due to its supposedly natural and additive-free ingredients.
In addition, Chiu asserted that Top Pot may face financial penalties of up to NT$200,000 imposed by New Taipei City, in which the bakery's headquarters is located, due to a violation of the Act Governing Food Sanitation.
Chiu also said that the essences are delivered from the central kitchen situated in Wugu District in New Taipei City.
Additionally, Top Pot cultivates yeast species as well, the contents of which could not be determined during the inspection.
Top Pot Bakery made a public statement to argue that the flavoring essences they use are made from “natural” elements, which Chiu disagreed with, saying that “natural” should refer to real strawberry in strawberry bread or authentic blueberry in blueberry bread.
Consumer Ombudsman of Taipei City Pan Hung-cheng (潘宏政) declared that Top Pot claimed the bread to be additive-free despite the usage of processed flavoring essences, which is false advertising and misleading to customers.
According to the ombudsman, the business is required to propose a proper solution to deal with the dispute, such as granting refunds to customers above and beyond what is required under Article 22 of the Consumer Protection Law.