TAIPEI (Taiwan News) --- Many feathers were ruffled in New Taipei City after it was discovered that three out of four branches of the Super Duck (超級達可, Super Drake) bubble tea franchise were using 112 kilograms worth of six kinds of expired ingredients, with some having past their expiration date as much as eight months ago, reported newtalk.
Once billed as the "Lukang Tea King," Super Duck has waddled into a quagmire after the New Taipei City Department of Health discovered that three branches of the boba tea chain had used expired tapioca pearls, which in some cases had passed their expiration date up to eight months ago.
New Taipei City councilwoman and Democratic Progressive Party member, Chiu Ting-wei (邱婷蔚), told newtalk that she received a report last month from a concerned citizen who said that their friend who worked at one the branches of the beverage chain was frequently becoming ill. The employee said that they often tried drinks from the store, after which they would frequently experience gastroenteritis and hives.
The employee inadvertently discovered that a variety of ingredients used in the shop had been stored past their expiration dates. Shockingly, the employee said that the boss's method of eliminating expired ingredients was plucking out moldy tapioca pearls and selling the ones that looked "normal" to customers.
Of the chain’s four New Taipei City branches visited by Health Department inspectors on June 28, the ones in Xinzhuang, Sanchong, and Shulin districts were all found to have contained expired ingredients, such as "Super Q Caramel Pearls" and "Red Beans and Barley Water." Inspectors found a total of 6 kinds of ingredients which had expired, 112 kilograms worth of which were seized by authorities.
Yang Shu-chin (楊舒秦), Section Chief of the Food and Drug Administration, said after the expired ingredients were discovered in New Taipei City, the parent company Super Drake was notified, but it denied using expired ingredients and inferred that the problem was with the individual franchises, reported Liberty Times. The government could fine the three franchises between NT$60,000 (US$2,000) and NT$200 million (US$6,600,000) for violating the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食安法).
Director of the Clinical Toxicology Department at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), told newtalk that expired food can become contaminated with microbes and eating it can cause acute gastroenteritis, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, diarrhea and other symptoms. Yen reminds people to never consume expired food products and instead dispose of them right away.