Don’t drink the bubble tea. At least that’s the rumor coming from the Taiwanese health authorities, who have confiscated more than 312 tons of food starch, the central ingredient in bubble tea, which was tainted with maleic acid, which can cause kidney failures if downed repeatedly. Bubble tea is a combination of tapioca balls and milk tea that contains that special starch.
The starch has gotten into other Taiwanese food exports as well, forcing Malaysia and Singapore to ban certain Taiwanese products. In 2011, certain Taiwanese products were found to have plasticizer in them. Since then, an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation has stalled in the Taiwanese legislature.