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Taipei City health department finds 1 violation during moon cake testing

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Department of Health, Taipei City Government (DOH) announced the results of moon cake testing yesterday, saying that the Cantonese moon cake from a Malaysian restaurant sold in Hi-Life convenience stores contains the illegal preservative sodium dehydroacetate.

The DOH reported that it carried out random inspections on 39 products from various stores and 18 pre-order products. The results showed that one out of 57 products contained an illegal additive and six of them did not meet labeling requirements.

The DOH further stated that it has already carried out investigations into the offending product. The company may get a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$3 million based on the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, if the illegal ingredient is proven.

According to the DOH, sodium dehydroacetate, a preservative that comes in the form of a white powder, can only be used in cheese, butter, cream and artificial cream with a limit of 0.5 grams per kilogram. Excess quantities of the additive in the long term may result in negative impacts on the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. The additive is forbidden for use in most food products.

In addition to the illegal additive, six other products were found not to have clear labeling. The DOH has notified the relevant companies and local governments to follow up on these cases.

As for the egg products usually contained in moon cakes, the DOH stated that many of the processed eggs fail to meet requirement standards. One out of every 10 salted egg yolks the DOH examined contained florfenicol, a kind of veterinary drug, which should not appear in food products.

The DOH also found heavy metal elements in some of preserved eggs, which may harm human health.

The DOH reminded food manufacturers to follow the law and actively ask for inspection reports to avoid unqualified materials from suppliers. In addition, the DOH also pointed out that citizens should be careful when buying food products and avoid those without clear labels.

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