Taipei, The Taipei City Department of Health on Friday advised the public not to consume Blue butterfly pea as food or beverage due to the current lack of food safety assessments for the flowering plant.
The luminous indigo-colored plant has been widely consumed in the form of a beverage and as an ingredient in cooking by people in parts of Southeast Asia, because of the health properties believed to be contained in the flower.
The trend is also slowly catching on in Taiwan, according to the city's health department.
But according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Blue butterfly pea is currently only allowed to be used as a coloring agent in Taiwan, and not marketed as food or beverage, said Wang Ming-li director of the city department's food and drug division.
Because the Blue butterfly pea contains flavonoids, which is known to cause uterine contraction, pregnant women are discouraged from consuming any food or beverage that contains this ingredient, he explained.
Despite the ongoing rage involving this flowering plant, the public should avoid consuming food or beverage made solely from this plant until there is a clear food assessment from the FDA, the official said.
According to Wang, there are currently four beverage stores in Taipei that use the flower as a coloring agent, and so far no one has applied with the FDA to approve their food or beverage produce from the Blue butterfly pea.
Wang warned that anyone caught selling this flowering plant as food or beverage will be subject to a fine ranging from NT$60,000 (US$1,934) to NT$200 million, under the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel