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Two more Taipei restaurants closed due to suspected food poisoning

04/07/2024 06:04 PM
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A dirty sink is seen in the kitchen of one of the Taipei restaurants with suspected cases of food poisoning in this recent photo. Photo courtesy of Taipei City Government Department of Health April 7, 2024
A dirty sink is seen in the kitchen of one of the Taipei restaurants with suspected cases of food poisoning in this recent photo. Photo courtesy of Taipei City Government Department of Health April 7, 2024

Taipei, April 7 (CNA) Two restaurants in Taipei, owned by Wowprime Corp., have been closed temporarily, after a total of 22 customers fell ill with food poisoning symptoms, the Taipei City Government Health Department said Sunday.

When the diners sought medical attention, they reported symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, after eating at the two restaurants, Truewow and XIANG LA Spicy Hot Pot, which are both located in the same building in the city's Ximending shopping district, the department said in a statement.

Citing hospital reports, the department said the 22 patients had dined at the restaurants between April 2 and 4, nine of them at XIANG LA Spicy Hot Pot, and the other 13 at Truewow.

The health department said it was also testing food and environmental samples from the two restaurants to confirm whether the reported cases of illness were indeed food poisoning.

On Saturday, the department carried out inspections at the two restaurants and found multiple problems, including dirty work areas, private belongings in the kitchen, and ingredients without date labels, according to Lin Kuan-chen (林冠蓁), head of the department's Food and Drug Division.

In addition, the number of reported cases of suspected food poisoning at each of the restaurants has exceeded six, which means they must close temporarily and take remedial action, in accordance with the relevant regulations, Lin told the press on Sunday.

The two restaurants have been ordered to remain closed April 6-8, and if they pass another inspection by the city's health department on the last day, they will be allowed to reopen, she said.

If they fail the inspections again, however, they will be liable to a fine of NT$60,000 (US$1,866) to NT$200 million, Lin added.

On Saturday, the restaurants said on their Facebook pages that their Ximending branches had been closed temporarily because of a water shortage in the building.

As netizens lambasted them over the posts, however, the restaurants posted some new statements on Sunday, saying on social media that they wished to apologize for the "incident" and that they were committed to food safety.

They said they would disinfect their premises and ask the building managers to clean the water tower and collect samples from it for testing, as they suspected that the "incident" has been caused by poor water quality.

According to the restaurants, the building managers have admitted that the water quality is unstable, and residents of the building have reported symptoms similar to food poisoning after the drinking water.

The suspected food poisoning at the two Wowprime restaurants in the bustling Ximending area followed the recent closure of three restaurants in the city owned by the Malaysian brand Polam Kopitiam, after over 30 of its diners fell ill with food poisoning, and two of them died.

The Polam Kopitiam chain, which has restaurants only in Taipei, remained closed as of Sunday.

(By Chen Yu-ting, Chiang Ming-yen and Wu Kuan-hsien)

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