Sat, May 06, 2017 - Page 1 News List

FDA impounds tonnes of food, some from 2008

RECYCLING:Employees of the companies said seven expired products had been repackaged as ingredients in a total of 31 products over the past nine years

By Huang Chien-hua, Fang Chih-hsien, Wu Liang-yi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

An inspector from the New Taipei City Government’s Department of Health examines expired food products on the shelves in a New Taipei City store yesterday.

Photo provided by the New Taipei City Government’s Department of Health

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday announced that it on Wednesday identified two products made by Mother Nature Co (春橋田) and Taiwan Naturals and Organics Inc (台灣有機) that contain repackaged ingredients that expired nine years ago.

The agency said it had impounded 29 tonnes of the products, adding that it ordered all products manufactured by the two firms to be removed from store shelves nationwide by midnight yesterday.

Administration official Yang Chien-hui (楊千慧) said that staff from both companies admitted that seven expired products — cashews, three types of almonds, oatmeal and powdered and granular black sugar — had been repackaged into a total of 31 products.

One product, Kuang Chung Almonds (光中杏), contains almonds that expired in August 2008, which have been repackaged into the newer product over the past nine years, Yang said.

The administration is investigating which chain stores have distributed the expired products, but the list would not be published until every package is tracked down, FDA Southern Taiwan Management Center Director Liu Fang-ming (劉芳銘) said.

The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office said the two firms are suspected of having generated more than NT$1 million (US$33,132) in profit from sales of the products containing expired ingredients.

The 56-year-old owner of both companies, surnamed Hsu (許), a general manager surnamed Tsai (蔡), an administrative department director also surnamed Tsai and a warehouse manager surnamed Cheng (鄭) were released on bail after questioning by prosecutors on Thursday, the office said.

Bail was set at NT$300,000 for Hsu, NT$200,000 each for the Tsais and NT$100,000 for Cheng, it added.

Harmful microorganisms can accumulate in food products that have expired, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Department of Toxicology doctor Yan Tsung-hai (顏宗海) said, adding that ingesting such foods could cause acute gastroenteritis.

If left too long after expiring, almonds and other nuts, as well as peanuts, can generate aflatoxins, which can cause hepatoxicity — chemically induced liver damage — after being eaten, Yan said.

Separately yesterday, the Taichung Department of Health said in a news release that 12.5 tonnes of unmarked pork was found in the possession of a meat importer in Cingshui District (清水) on April 26.

Frozen chicken drumsticks that had expired at least three months ago were also found at the importer, the department said, adding that all products have been impounded.

The department said it was investigating whether more products from the importer remain on the market.

Additional reporting by Tsai Shu-yuan

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