Focus Taiwan App
Download

Taipei budgets more for testing amid food poisoning outbreaks

04/11/2024 08:52 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
A Taipei City health official conducts a sanitary inspection at a restaurant in January 2024. File photo courtesy of Taipei City Department of Health
A Taipei City health official conducts a sanitary inspection at a restaurant in January 2024. File photo courtesy of Taipei City Department of Health

Taipei, April 11 (CNA) The Taipei City government plans to allocate nearly NT$45 million (US$139,679) for additional tests and new equipment following a series of recent food poisoning outbreaks, Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) said Thursday.

At a briefing at the city council, Chiang said the amount will be used to ramp up related examinations, with about NT$38.5 million, or 86.5 percent of the budget, going towards the purchase of new equipment.

The government plans to establish a five-member examination group for 11 foodborne diseases, such as Bongkrekic acid, norovirus, and β-Nitropropionic acid, Chiang said, adding that it will also launch an examination project capable of analyzing 800-1,000 samples a year.

The budget comes from the limited resources of Taipei's health department, which has only 14 staffers in charge of food testing. In the event of a food poisoning outbreak, they would have to stop their operations of other examination equipment to aid in emergency testing, according to Chiang's presentation.

These measures were taken in response to several food poisoning outbreaks from late March, led by the deadly case of a branch of Malaysian restaurant Polam Kopitiam in Taipei's Xinyi District, the first domestic case induced by a rare toxin called Bongkrekic acid.

A total of 23 individuals in Taipei have been involved in the case as of April 10, according to Chiang's presentation, including two deaths and 21 hospitalizations, 16 of whom have been discharged.

In addition, the Polam International Co., which runs the restaurant chain, has been fined NT$3.5 million mainly due to the lack of product liability insurance, Chiang said.

A branch of Malaysian restaurant Polam Kopitiam in the Far Eastern Department Store in Taipei's Xinyi District. CNA file photo
A branch of Malaysian restaurant Polam Kopitiam in the Far Eastern Department Store in Taipei's Xinyi District. CNA file photo

Focus Taiwan's coverage of food poinsoning incident in Taipei

April 7: Toxin found in Polam Kopitiam chef's feces in food poisoning outbreak

Following the Polam Kopitiam case are two restaurants located in the same building in the city's Ximending shopping district run by Wowprime Corp., which owns 26 restaurant brands in Taiwan, and Bafang Dumpling in the city's Beitou District.

The Wowprime case has seen 115 individuals seek medical attention displaying symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea as of 10 a.m. Thursday, the Taipei health department said in a statement.

Both restaurants have been temporarily closed since April 6, the day the case was first reported.

Chiang said no anomalies were detected by the Taipei Water Department and Department of Environmental Protection, which sampled and tested the building's water source and the water supply from the building's water dispensers.

Meanwhile, Wowprime apologized to its customers and staffers and announced three ways to compensate those involved.

"Regardless of the source of the contamination, [this incident] has caused harm to our staffers and customers who believe in Wowprime. We feel sorry and blame ourselves for this. We have no excuse to shirk responsibilities," the company said in a press statement issued Thursday.

CNA photo April 11, 2024
CNA photo April 11, 2024

In addition to making phone calls to customers who visited the two restaurants between April 2 and 6, the company said all of them can receive full refunds with receipts.

The company will cover all medical expenses between April 2 and 11 of those involved as long as they provide receipts, and it will also offer compensation payment with indefinite amounts based on each case, it said.

New Taipei also saw food poisoning cases at the sushi restaurant chain Kura Sushi's Xinzhuang and Tamsui branches on Wednesday and early April, both of which were closed temporarily as a result.

(By Chen Yu-ting, Liu Chien-pang, Jeffrey Wu, Lai Yu-chen, and Chao Yen-hsiang)

Enditem/ASG

    0:00
    /
    0:00
    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.
    172.30.142.104