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Taipei cracks down on luosifen rice noodle products from China

Chinese luosifen banned in Taiwan, illicit forms found to contain high levels of food preservative

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Luosifen products on Taiwan's e-commerce website. (Shopee screenshot)

Luosifen products on Taiwan's e-commerce website. (Shopee screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) on Tuesday (Nov. 28) ordered a crackdown on luosifen (螺螄粉), a popular Chinese rice noodle soup product that has gained attention but is being illegally sold in Taiwan.

During an interpellation session, Taipei City Councilor Hung Chien-yi (洪健益) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) expressed concern about the capital's insufficient efforts to curb the influx of the product, per CNA. Hung highlighted the widespread availability of luosifen from dubious sources through social media platforms like Facebook and LINE, where smuggling has become a pervasive issue.

Health risks associated with the consumption of online-purchased luosifen were also raised by Hung. He pointed to complaints of vomiting and diarrhea and shared examination results revealing alarmingly high levels of dehydroacetic acid, a food preservative, in counterfeit luosifen products, with some exceeding the permissible limit by more than 15 times, as indicated in a Facebook post.

Mayor Chiang has promised an increased crackdown on the illicit rice noodle soup trade. The city's efforts will target social media platforms, e-commerce channels, and physical stores, including night markets.

Taiwan prohibits the import of Chinese noodle and rice noodle products, and Taipei’s health agency on Thursday (Nov. 30) said more inspections will be carried out. The public is encouraged to scrutinize product labeling and consult the website of the Bureau of Foreign Trade if they come across suspicious luosifen items.

This is not the first instance of Chinese luosifen causing a stir in Taiwan. In January, a product featuring "propaganda content" on its packaging was swiftly removed from shelves.