The Consumer Protection Commission yesterday said a recent investigation showed as much as 60 percent of medium and small dairy farms label their products with false expiration dates.
The commission teamed up with the Department of Health, the Council of Agriculture (COA) and local governments to conduct -surprise inspections on five medium and small dairy farms, which together make up less than 15 percent of the local dairy market. Officials tested products from the dairies for melamine and other harmful substances.
The commission said that two of the five milk producers did not have facilities that were up to standard and they have been given warnings to make -immediate improvements.
Three of the dairy farms falsely labeled their products by indicating inaccurate manufacture or expiration dates to extend the period of time their products could be sold, commission section chief Wu Cheng-hsueh (吳政學) said.
A fresh milk product mixed with juice concentrate by Gau Jiann Food Technical Ltd (高健食品) reported a manufacturing date 67 days later than the product was made, Wu said. The milk product was labeled as having been manufactured on Oct. 1 this year, but the actual date the milk in the drink was produced was July 26, a practice that is known as “future products,” he said.
None of the dairy farms were found to have laced their milk with melamine, an industrial chemical harmful to the kidneys that artificially enhances protein content in milk products, the commission said.
The commission issued a NT$40,000 fine to Gau Jiann Food, which was the dairy farm with the most serious violations found during the surprise inspections. The commission also ordered Gau Jiann to destroy milk products that were found to be “future products” and instructed local government officials to follow up on the case.
The commission reminded consumers that when shopping for milk, it is important to look for the COA-issued mark on milk cartons or containers that indicates the product contains fresh milk that has been approved by the council.