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Inspection Results Show that Half of Commercially Available Laundry Detergent Capsules Failed to Meet the Requirements

Date:2021-04-19
Source:Department of Consumer Protection

The Executive Yuan’s Department of Consumer Protection (hereinafter referred to as the DCP) selected 32 commercially available laundry detergent capsules for testing and inspection. The result shows that 17 items did not comply with the regulations of the "Commodity Labeling Act". The DCP has asked the competent authority, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), to handle the subsequent process accordingly and track the follow-ups. Furthermore, the DCP also asked the related public associations to strengthen the education and promotion on regulatory compliance of products for companies that produce, import, and sell laundry detergent capsules.

Given that laundry detergent capsules on the market tend to be colorful and look like candy, thousands of kids and teenagers are accidentally poisoned by mistakenly eating laundry detergent capsules in the U.S every year. Laundry detergent capsules have also caused the deaths of people with dementia. In Taiwan, there was a case last year (in 2020) in which an elderly person ate a laundry detergent capsule because the victim mistook it to be jelly. In the middle of January 2021, there was another case of mistakenly ingesting a laundry detergent capsule, which involved a 7-month-old baby girl. The DCP, therefore, purchased 32 products of laundry detergent capsules from stores in northern Taiwan and online stores, and convened a meeting with the MOEA to jointly inspect the signs and warnings on the capsule. The results showed that 17 items failed to meet the requirements (see attached table). The violations mainly included:

      1. The laundry detergent capsules did not indicate usage instructions, storage instructions and/or precautions;
      2. The laundry detergent capsules did not indicate usage instructions and precautions clearly and completely compared to those on the label of the products in the country of origin;
      3. The laundry detergent capsules did not indicate the manufacture date or manufacturer and information of the importer.

The DCP has asked the MOEA to handle the subsequent process in accordance with the "Commodity Labeling Act" (including requiring further improvements to be made within a prescribed time period) and track the follow-ups. Furthermore, the DCP also asked related associations to strengthen the education and promotion on product legal compliance of the "Commodity Labeling Act" for companies that produce, import, and sell laundry detergent capsules. The DCP states that the detergent in laundry detergent capsules could harm the human body. Holding a laundry detergent capsule with wet hands or putting it into your mouth could cause the capsule to dissolve or break. If laundry detergent capsules are not properly stored, children and infants could mistakenly eat them and become poisoned. Thus, the DCP wants to remind consumers of the following matters when buying or using laundry detergent capsules:

  1. Choose the products that have easily understood and complete instructions, warnings, and precautions in Chinese, and whose packaging is not easy to open.
  2. Read the warnings and precautions carefully (such as "Inedible", "Do not come into contact with your eyes", "Please store the product where kids and pets cannot reach."), and first aid information (for instance, if the liquid comes into contact with your skin and causes irritation, please wash the affected area with a large amount of water and seek medical attention immediately).
  3. Store and place the product where kids and people with dementia cannot reach. For example, if you put it on a low cabinet, it is advised to lock the cabinet or find other relevant effective methods.
  4. Please put laundry detergent capsules that have been opened back in the original packaging to prevent children and the elderly with poor eyesight from mistaking capsules for jelly or candy and eating them.