After a report found chopsticks masquerading as high-grade stainless steel to be made from inferior metals, a Taiwanese consumer protection group Friday implored the government to tighten screening and regulations.
The Consumers’ Foundation held a press conference on Friday to reveal the findings of a random screening on market chopsticks conducted recently.
Consumers’ Foundation Secretary-general Hsu Tse-yu (徐則鈺) said that the foundation randomly purchased 10 unnamed brands of chopsticks from stores in Taipei and New Taipei and over the internet in August.
Of the utensils bought, five brands were labeled as stainless steel, while four claimed to be made with melamine, and one from alloy steel.
The foundation’s inspector Ling Yung-chien (凌永健) said of the five stainless steel chopsticks, only two were made from a 300 series grade stainless steel considered safe for consumers to use when eating.
Ling said the other three brands were made from materials that could not be categorized by the existing National Standards of the Republic of China.
On the melamine chopsticks, all four brands passed both lead and cadmium inspections.
While a dissolution test passed all four brands on the residual solvents analysis, one of the brands failed its potassium permanganate and formaldehyde output tests.
He added that failing the potassium permanganate stress test meant that such products could likely bleed out substances such as product coloring and plasticizers that could be harmful when ingested.
As the World Health Organization has deemed formaldehyde a carcinogenic substance that could cause teratogenic defects, the foundation warned that utensils made with such substances should be removed immediately.
In light of the conclusions, Hsu said, the foundation implored the government to establish better screening protocols to guarantee the health and well-being of consumers.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel