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Hanoi has not been found in the polymer pearl milk tea, but a large number of toxin

27 August 2009 2,412 views No Comment

The Hanoi Health department said tapioca ball samples were taken randomly from wholesale markets and three milk tea shops in the city on August 10 for testing following online reports from Chinese newspaper Renmin Wang that tapioca balls used in milk tea in China contained polymers, chlorides and sodium sulfates that are harmful to human health.

The department said it had yet to find polymer in Vietnamese-made tapioca balls, also known as pearls or black pearls when used in sweet milk tea beverages, but there was still plenty to be alarmed about.

Hong Hoa Truong Lac Company, a Chinese company operating in the capital’s Cau Giay District, was found using benzoic acid as a preservative at amounts 2.5 times higher than permitted and sorbic acid at leaves 1.6 times above the legal limit.

Health officers on Tuesday sealed off all tapioca balls at the company and suspended production as Cau Giay failed to present food safety and hygiene certificates, newswire Vnexpress reported Wednesday.

Tapioca balls are used in popular milk tea drinks, a favorite of local teenagers and college students.

Nguyen Viet Cuong, chief inspector at the Hanoi Health Department, said the department had asked the company’s Chinese boss, who is currently in China, to meet with them on the matter.

The company has traded the pearls since 2003 and provides most of the tapioca balls on sale throughout Vietnam, said newswire Vietnamnet Wednesday.

The Hanoi Health Department also announced it had found Donghui-brand balls produced by an unidentified Chinese company to contain 1.4 times more sorbic acid and nearly five times more saccharine than permitted.

Le Thi Hong Hao, deputy head of the National Food Safety and Hygiene Testing Center, said too much of the acids can damage the liver and kidneys, or even cause cancer.

Ho Chi Minh City health authorities also began inspections on August 10 but have yet to announce any results.

Inspectors in the southern hub suspended Long Phu Company in HCMC’s Tan Phu District on August 12 for producing the tapioca pearls without meeting food safety standards and using bleach as an ingredient.

Source: Thanh Nien, Agencies

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