U.S. has not reacted to Taiwan's tainted starch

Washington, May 28 (CNA) The United States has not published any information on food products from Taiwan containing a banned industrial starch ingredient, and its Food and Drug Administration has not asked Taiwan for information on the issue. Kuo Hsu-sung, a health adviser to Taiwan's representative office in the United States, said the two countries have cooperated in the past on the illegal use of plasticizers in foods and beverages in Taiwan in 2011 and on the new H7N9 avian flu this year. But the FDA has yet to inquire about the tainted starch, Kuo said, and the office has not received any reports of starched-related foods from Taiwan containing the banned material, which increases the chewiness of foods. In contrast, Singapore has begun to take action in response to the food scandal, reportedly ordering 11 starch-based food products from Taiwan off shelves because they contain the industrial material maleic anhydride. Most of the recalled food products are tapioca starch balls used in popular bubble-tea beverages, according to the reports. In Southern California, which has a large concentration of ethnic Chinese, the safety of tainted-starch food products has not drawn much attention. Virginia Tan, spokesperson for 99 Ranch Market, an Asian American supermarket chain, said the supermarket has not received related information, and no consumers have inquired about the matter. Giant Union Co., a major importer of Taiwanese food products, said the issue could have some impact but will not be as serious as plasticizer scandal two years ago. (By Lin Shu-yuan, Oscar Wu and Lilian Wu)