19% of packaged rice fails COA's content inspection
By Joy Lee ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Twenty four out of 127 inspected brand-name packaged rice products failed to satisfactorily match their content to their labels, according to the Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) yesterday, thus failing inspection.
September 24, 2013, 12:17 am TWN
Sunsuivi, one of the top three rice brands in Taiwan, which has a history of substituting locally grown rice with imported Vietnamese rice, had a total of eight products fail the inspection, the most failures of any other brand.
Other well-known rice sellers like Union Rice and Yeedon Enterprise Co., Ltd. had over five products fail the inspection.
Just less than 19 percent of the products failed the inspection.
The AFA said that due to a mislabeling case involving Sunsuivi in August, the agency conducted a nationwide inspection on packaged rice sold in all major supermarkets.
According to the AFA, two Sunsuivi products did not contain any locally grown rice despite their labels stating that they contained 50-percent locally grown rice.
Another Sunsuivi product's label said that it contained 80-percent locally grown No. 9 rice, the AFA said, but the inspection result found this not to be the case.
The AFA demanded that Sunsuivi take all the mislabeled products off the shelves and fined the company NT$440,000, as per the Food Administration Act.
According to the AFA, the other 24 products that failed the inspection were not substituting locally grown rice with imported rice, but were still failing to provide proper labeling.
The AFA said that all the rice sellers, except for Sunsuivi, were not fined by the agency because this was their first violation. However, the AFA demanded that these rice sellers improve within one month.
According to the current Food Administration Act, food sold at markets must be labeled in Chinese characters and the product name, quality specification, origin, weight, date of milling, the expiration date, name of the manufacturer, relevant telephone number, and relevant address on the package or containers must be clearly stated.
COA to Raise Maximum Fine to NT$3 Million
Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) yesterday said that an amendment to the Food Administration Act will raise the maximum fine against unlawful food sellers to NT$3 million.
Chen said that the amendment, which is listed as a priority bill to be reviewed in this session of the Legislative Yuan, is almost finished.
According to the COA, the amendment also states that any food sellers who violate regulations will have their food dealership certificates of registration revoked after three violations. However, the COA said that if the violation is severe, the food seller may have its certificate revoked after just one violation.
Chen said that the COA is also thinking about how to regulate food sellers through other regulations and acts and enforce the management of imported rice.