Asian business owners say food regulation on noodles threatens custom
But a state law requiring manufacturers to refrigerate the pasta instead of allowing it to be stored at room temperature according to custom threatens to wipe out this popular Asian food staple from the American menu, critics say.
“The health inspectors don’t understand our culture,” said Tom Thong, owner of Kim Tar, the noodle factory. “We’ve been eating it this way for thousands of years and we’ve never had a problem. Everyone from Southeast Asia knows that if you put the noodles in the refrigerator it would be ruined.”The issue first came to light when a San Francisco noodle factory was recently cited by state inspectors for violating the law, which states that such food should either be kept at or below 41 degrees or at or above 140 degrees.
But health officials say it’s a simple matter of public safety.
“Ethnic foods are not treated differently from other foods,” said Ralph Montano, spokesman for the California Department of Public Health. “Food produced without appropriate temperature controls can result in serious illnesses.”
-- Ching-Ching Ni
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