Or: How to Give
a High School/ College/Any Kid a Heart Attack in Eight Words or Less.
Sad, but true: German scientists may have just effectively killed another Asian-borrowed college student eating staple (the first being ramen), with a new study revealing the “presence of PCB-like substances” (said to strongly increase one’s risk for cancer), in a sample of tapioca boba balls.
The samples in question came from one milk tea shop from an unnamed nationwide German chain, whose spokesperson claimed to receive their tapioca balls from a mass producer in Taiwan. Thus far, it is unclear whether the PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) can be traced to any specific batch from the distributor or even what the level of toxicity was, though the scare has been enough to prompt at least one environmental spokesman to call for regular PCB testing in stores.
According to the New York Daily News, this tragic news comes to us now as Europe, which has stronger food safety restrictions than we do, has just started to catch onto the tapioca milk tea trend–researchers there perhaps bringing to light information which here might have until now been deemed negligible or inconsequential, at least according to our own FDA.
Not that this news is likely to change things stateside. Thus far, there have been no reported boba-related accidents (bobaccidents?) due the presence of PCBs and until one arises (or someone invents a satisfactory boba substitute), I for one will continue to enjoy my chewy-laden Taiwanese milk tea in ignorant bliss.