Sat, Jan 10, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Agriculture council defends quality of Taiwanese produce

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday questioned claims that the local agricultural and fishery industries had used fake labels to make consumers think their products were produced in Japan, saying Taiwan-made products already meet the highest standards in food safety, quality and freshness.

The council made the statement in response to media reports that the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries planned to file a complaint with Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission to protest alleged erroneous labeling of Taiwanese agricultural products to suggest they were produced in Japan.

The reports said the Japanese ministry had alleged that several Taiwanese-made products carried fake labels and packaging indicating Japan as the country of origin.

The COA, however, said given that Taiwan is widely known for its high-quality agricultural produce, it saw no reason for Taiwanese farm produce suppliers to use fake labels to give consumers a false sense of security.

The council added that it planned to set up a supply chain for top quality, locally made farm produce to highlight the excellence of domestic produce and help consumers identify quality products, build their confidence in local products and expand domestic producers’ export markets.

It also urged the public to buy domestic agricultural products to help fend off fakes.

To cushion the impact of agricultural imports on the local agricultural industry after the nation joined the WTO in 2002, the government has since 1998 worked on promoting brand-name domestic produce as well as establishing a quality accreditation and labeling system for these products, the council said.

In related news, the Fair Trade Commission warned that in addition to using fake labels and packaging, producers or distributors of agricultural product who make false advertising claims may be fined between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000 for violating the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法) and may be referred to the COA and the Ministry of Economic Affairs if they were found to have committed trademark infringement or violated international trade laws.

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