Public health officials in Taiwan found that nearly 30 percent of dried fruit and pickled vegetables found in grocery stores fail to meat local food safety standards, often due to excessive levels of additives.
The Taipei City Government Department of Health conducted random inspections of 97 products sold in various markets, including the Dihua Street Commercial Circle in Taipei City.
Chian Yu-Mei, director of Taipei’s Food and Drug division of the health department, reported that 26.8 percent of the tested food failed the tests.
On top of finding excessive additives, officials found 11 of the 97 products were improperly labeled.
Yu-Mei reported that 33 percent of the dried fruit failed food safety tests because they containted excessive levels of cyclamate, an artificial sweetener–one of the samples contained 20 times the allowable levels of the chemical.
“Consumption of too much artificial sweetener may cause thirst, intestinal discomfort, nausea, or even vomiting, while long-term ingestion of clyclamate could lead to bladder cancer,” Chiang told the China Post, who reported the study’s findings this week.
Among the 35 pickled vegetable samples, nine failed to meat safety standards for having excessive levels of benzoic acid. According to The Post, ingestion of the preservative could affect liver and kidney functions.