As a general note, most Singaporeans love bubble tea – especially those with pearls, am I right?
But do you know?
According to an article STOMP quoting the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA):
Bubble tea pearls from Taiwan contain substance that can cause kidney damage
Sunright brand tapioca balls, also known as bubble tea pearls, have been recalled by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration as they contain a substance that might cause kidney damage in the long term.
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore issued a statement on its website on May 17:
“The Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an alert on the detection of maleic acid, an unapproved food additive, in some food products manufactured in Taiwan. Occasional consumption at the levels detected by Taiwan FDA does not pose any significant health risk. However, long term consumption of high levels of maleic acid can cause kidney damage.
Of the affected products, only Sunright brand tapioca balls were imported. AVA has informed local importers of Sunright brand tapioca balls to withdraw them from sale and the withdrawal has been completed. Consumers who have purchased the affected product should either return it to the retailer or discard the product and not consume it.
As a precautionary measure, AVA is conducting surveillance of other similar food products from Taiwan to ensure that they do not contain maleic acid.”
Of course right now it’s just ONE brand of bubble tea pearls that are affected, but we aren’t too sure which local bubble tea stores have been using this brand right? Hopefully no one will be affected by this issue since occasional consumption won’t pose any risks.
Just to add on, according to AVA, other affected Sunbright products include fish paste products (oden), flat rice noodles and taro/yam balls.
For more details of the affected products, please click HERE. So if you see any the products in your fridge, or you’ve bought it before, be sure to dispose of them as all of them contain high levels of maleic acid (including the above mentioned tapioca balls.