What Are The Scandals?
As early as 2009, it was reported in a Vietnam paper that the balls served in the "Bubble milk tea" contained "plastic polymers". The truth, as they say, can't be more strange.
|Chewy? Heh http://www.saigon-gpdaily.com.vn/Health/2009/8/73253/|
|DEHP -diethylhexyl phthalate http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/6/17/nation/20110617211015&sec=nation|
When the issue of plastics in food subsided, it did not take more than a year when suddenly more Taiwan Bubbletea stores opened in Klang Valley. Most, if not all claimed that their "Pearl and Tapioca Balls are REAL FOOD and Natural".
|Day 1, March 5.|
|Two weeks later. The balls looked intact, short of those that was soaked at the bottom due to rain. But you can see the shape is still there|
|Winter Solstice 2012. Deliver to me by my Mum|
|Day 35. Woohoo!|
I was having a conversation with my mum just two days ago. That was when she told me that she has been eating these tapioca balls on weekly basis as a way to spend time with my dad. Sweet of them. The secrecy was because they know I would not approve of it. And it came up as the news was on the newspaper - the Chinese paper that she read, that is. And just yesterday (May 29), my ex-colleague shared this with me.
Maleic acid, not to be confused with Malic Acid, is a chemical that is used extensively for some industrial process. Fancy eating the same stuff that make up your vehicle plastic parts and paint? Or how about being able to synthesise benzene with this chemical compound?
If you are interested, search for the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of Maleic Acid and learn about it. Myself being involved with consulting and project development over the past 6 years has taught me to look at MSDS of any substance and identify it's risk. Needless to say, Maleic acid is considered and classified as toxic. Maleic acid is classified under NFPA as "3" for Health, which meant a short exposure will cause temporary and moderate residue injury.
Having said all that, and reading through all the paper reports, I would say there are two approach to this. You can continue to buy and eat them, after all, it is your own body, OR, you can avoid and not take it anymore. Either way, the choice is yours.