Steel isn’t real: calls for tougher rules to tackle chopstick fraud

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Taipei, Dec. 24 (CNA) After a report revealed that chopsticks masquerading as high-grade stainless steel were made from substandard metals, a Taiwanese consumer protection group pleaded on Friday for the government to strengthen supervision and regulation.

The Consumers Foundation held a press conference on Friday to reveal the results of a recent random screening of market chopsticks.

Consumers Foundation general secretary Hsu Tse-yu (徐 則 鈺) said the foundation randomly purchased 10 brands of anonymous chopsticks from stores in Taipei and New Taipei and on the Internet in August.

Of the utensils purchased, five brands were labeled as being stainless steel, while four claimed to be melamine and one was alloy steel.

Foundation inspector Ling Yung-chien (凌永健) said that of the five stainless steel chopsticks, only two were made from a 300-series grade stainless steel that was considered safe for consumers to use when they eat.

Ling said the other three brands are made from materials that cannot be classified by the existing national standards of the Republic of China.

On the melamine rods, all four brands passed the lead and cadmium inspections.

While a dissolution test passed all four marks on the residual solvent analysis, one of the marks failed its potassium permanganate formaldehyde release tests.

He added that the failure of the potassium permanganate resistance test meant that these products could likely exude substances such as dyes and plasticizers from products that could be harmful when ingested.

As the World Health Organization considered formaldehyde to be a carcinogen that could cause teratogenic defects, the foundation warned that utensils made with such substances should be removed immediately.

In light of the findings, Hsu said, the foundation implored the government to establish better screening protocols to ensure the health and well-being of consumers.

(By Yang Shu-min and James Lo)

Final element / ASG

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