TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Six iced beverages and frozen desserts tested positive for harmful levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli), including well-known brands such as Cold Stone Creamery, Taro Boba, and Meet Fresh.
On Wednesday (July 26), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that to ensure the sanitation of on-site prepared beverages and frozen desserts, it implemented an inspection project targeting bubble tea shops, herbal tea sellers, convenience store chains, and fast-food chains, as well as on-site frozen product vendors. The inspection focused on checking the registration of food operators, compliance with Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) standards, on-site prepared beverage labeling in beverage store chains and convenience stores, source documentation retention, and random sampling to ensure compliance with relevant regulations of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法).
A total of 371 businesses were inspected and those found to lack items such as food business registration, GHP, and preservation of source documentation were given a limited period of time to take corrective actions and all subsequently passed re-inspection. However, 26 businesses failed to meet the labeling requirements, incurring a total of NT$890,000 (US$27,800) in fines, and two were found to have not purchased product liability insurance, resulting in NT$60,000 in fines.
There were 408 iced beverages, frozen products, and toppings that were tested to see if they met microbiological hygiene standards in food. As a result, six beverages and frozen products from the branches of five chain stores exceeded the maximum permitted level of E. coli.
The six products and branches that exceeded acceptable levels of E. coli include:
- Taro smoothies from the Hukou Renhe Branch of Taro Boba (清原芋圓) in Hsinchu County
- Chocolate ice cream from the T.S. Mall branch of Cold Stone Creamery in Tainan City
- Winter-spring iced tea from the Tainan Park Branch of A Yi Pineapple Ice (阿義鳳梨冰) in Tainan
- Fresh taro grass jelly shaved ice from the Zhongshan Flagship store for Meet Fresh (鮮芋仙) in Taipei,
- Fresh sugarcane juice from the Nanyang branch of Sugarcane Mama’s (甘蔗の媽媽) in Taipei
- “Taro Joy” shaved ice from the Xinzhuang Huacheng Branch of Taro Boba in New Taipei City
For violating the safety regulations, each business was fined by the local health department NT$30,000 (US$959) each for a total of NT$180,000 in fines.
List of beverages and branches found with dangerous E. coli levels. (FDA image)