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:
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.
Whoops. Perhaps we should all go on a “bubble tea pearls”-free diet for awhile?