Following news that tea sold at popular shops, including Stornaway, 50 Lan, and CoCo, were tainted with traces of pesticides, the government has stepped up investigations around Taiwan. Yesterday came news that a bottled mineral water company in Kaohsiung had been using groundwater to increase profits.
New Taipei District Prosecutors Office alleges that manufacturers of 台灣第一家 sold seasonings mixed with industrial-use magnesium carbonate (MgCO3), also called E504, according to Apple Daily. 台灣第一家 is a fried chicken chain that also produces its own seasonings.
While MgCO3 is commonly used to prevent clumping in salt and seasonings, particularly in Taiwan’s humid environment, industrial-use grade is not meant for human consumption. It isn’t dangerous in small doses, but the use of it violates Taiwan’s food safety laws.
Police investigated the company and two downstream companies last night. Ten employees were questioned by authorities in the investigation. 380 kg of seasoning were seized for testing.
Two people, including the head of the company, are being held on NT$2 million bail in the case, and a third is held on NT$100,000.
Update: The FDA has ordered downstream companies of 台灣第一家 to remove the products from shelves before midnight Thursday or face a fine of up to NT$3 million, UDN reported. FDA inspectors have already seized 818 kg of seasoning from shelves.