Taipei City hot pot health inspection reveals numerous infractions

Inspections of hot pot products in restaurants and supermarkets reveals 3 offenses

Mala Hot Pot (Image from Department of Health, Taipei City Government)

Mala Hot Pot (Image from Department of Health, Taipei City Government)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Department of Health, Taipei City Government inspected numerous hot pot restaurants and hot pot products available in supermarkets across Taipei City since September, finding a number of infractions.

The inspections revealed one hot pot restaurant sold a cheaper species of fish than advertised. Meanwhile in supermarkets, a batch of lettuce was found to have excessive herbicides, and one product was mislabeled.

Inspectors sampled ingredients from 19 hot pot restaurants across Taipei City.

One hot pot restaurant was found to be using different fish than that advertised on the menu. The menu said the dish contained John Dory fish, but the inspection found the restaurant was using the cheaper Basa fish.

Huang Ching-yao (黃敬堯) of the Department of Health told Liberty Times the hot pot chain said the fish problem is a single-store issue, but the department will follow-up with every branch in Taipei.

The Liberty Times reports the hot pot chain in question is Mala Hot Pot (馬辣火鍋), and the branch is located in Wanhua District. The restaurant was fined NT$40,000 (US$1,300) for the error.

Inspections were also carried out on every type of hot pot ingredient available in supermarkets, as well as checks to ensure related produce had safe levels of pesticide residues, animal drug residues, preservatives, sweeteners, hydrogen peroxide, borax, sulfur dioxide, and other chemicals.

From a total of 50 tests, a batch of lettuce was found to have an excessive quantity of tebuconazole, a popular herbicide. The lettuce was found to have a reading of 0.10 ppm, far greater than the legal limit of 0.01 ppm.

The lettuce was grown in Yunlin County, and the case has been forwarded to the local authority.

In addition, one product did not contain all required information in terms of the name and address of the manufacturer. The product has been pulled from the shelves.