The fuss over Taiwanese milk tea

Are the authorities milking it for all it's worth?

Azra Rauff

Published: 26 August 2016, 12:00 AM

Fans of the highly raved Taiwanese bottled milk tea, Chun Cui He or Just Drink-Milk Tea, were shocked when the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) announced the drink would be taken off shelves islandwide as the beverage contained unpermitted ingredients.

What’s going on?

On Aug 23, AVA announced that the popular drink, commonly sold at 7-Eleven outlets, contained L-theanine, an organic compound found in certain plants. L-theanine is not on the list of permitted food additive under the Food Regulations of Singapore.

The drink, a food fad since it was launched here in July, left many customers disappointed when it was taken off shelves. It was often sold out within hours of being restocked.

Due to its popularity, netizens were quick to react and share their views once the recall was announced.

Some netizens felt that the recall was redundant.


Netizens were quick to question why the drink was taken off shelves.


Another implied the move was unnecessary, since the L-theanine can be found in most teas.


Another questioned how the drink managed to make it on to shelves in the first place.
Photo credits: The Straits Times Facebook page


26-year-old make-up artist Nurul Huda Sani, who is an avid fan of the beverage, said: “I think recalling the drink is just causing unnecessary stress among the public, especially since the unpermitted ingredient is not harmful.”

“I would rather [have] the government leave the drink on the shelves and give the public a heads up on the situation, so that everyone can make an informed choice.”

This is not the first time AVA recalled products that were already put up for sale.

In February this year, Manuka honey products from New Zealand were recalled, following claims about non-approved substances, dihydroxyacetone and methylglyoxal, being found in the product. However, there are no food safety risks associated with the products.

Still, some youths felt otherwise about recalling the beloved drink.

Full-time national serviceman Hairi Anuar supported AVA’s move to recall the popular drink in Singapore.

The 20-year-old explained: “I don’t think that the government is being too strict. They are just playing it safe. What if someone falls sick from drinking this? Nobody wants that to happen.”

Some youths stood by AVA’s move, as they felt there had to be a reason behind the recall.

29-year-old barista, Jeremy Chew, is one of them.

He said: “Singapore is a very developed country and authorities have always been pretty stringent when it comes to regulating food and drinks. There must be a reason why the ingredient was not approved. Until things are settled, I think it’s best to take it off shelves for everyone’s safety.”

What’s your take?

  1. Are you a fan of the Taiwanese bottled milk tea? How did you feel when the product was recalled?
  2. Do you think the government is too stringent when it comes to regulating food and drinks in Singapore? Why?
  3. What else can be done to prevent similar situations in the future?

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