Fri, Feb 15, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Watchdog warns of fake sea food

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Consumers' Foundation said yesterday that it had received reports that counterfeit sea cucumber made of konjac jelly was being sold in traditional marketplaces and even some hypermarkets.

Foundation officials questioned whether RT-Mart, the nation's second-largest hypermarket operator, has been involved in misleading consumers, although the chain said it had been a victim of deception itself.

Officials said that consumers recently complained to the Taipei County Government that they had bought counterfeit sea cucumber for NT$460 per kilogram in a traditional market.

Further complaints were later received from consumers who had bought counterfeit sea cucumber from RT-Mart.

The consumers told officials that they had bought the sea cucumber, a popular Chinese delicacy, at NT$700 (US$21.87) per kilogram from RT-Mart's Chunglun outlet in Taipei City.

The officials said genuine sea cucumber normally sells for around NT$1,000 per kilogram.

By selling substandard sea cucumbers at a price higher than that of traditional markets, RT-Mart could inadvertently mislead consumers into thinking that they were purchasing the genuine product, they said.

The officials said that RT-Mart "had failed to do its share" to safeguard the quality of its products, and that this could make company officials subject to imprisonment or fines.

An RT-Mart executive said the company would get to the bottom of the matter and vowed to compensate consumers.

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