Prosecutors said yesterday that four employees of a popular and long-established snack producer might have been selling expired products to a businessman who was detained earlier this month for buying expired foods and beverages and reselling them.
The Changhua District Prosecutors’ Office said it sent a team on Monday to search the premises of Kuai Kuai Co, which began producing snacks in the 1960s. The inspectors seized 24 cases of expired Kuai Kuai fruit jelly candies at the company’s factory in Jhongli (中壢), Taoyuan County.
According to the prosecutors’ office, the team found that the old snacks were from the same production line as products that were seized from the Changhua-based Ho Ya company in central Taiwan earlier this month.
Ho Ya was found to be buying past-expiry date foodstuffs and soft drinks cheaply and then selling them to vendors at night markets and traditional markets after changing the production and expiration dates on the packaging.
Investigators detained four Kuai Kuai employees who work in marketing and storage for questioning. The four are suspected of selling expired Kuai Kuai fruit jelly candies to Ho Ya.
Three of the four were released on bail, while a marketing manager surnamed Yang was released despite the prosecutor in charge of the case demanding that he be taken into custody.
Ho Ya’s owner, identified as Chen Cheng-li (陳政利) has been in detention since early this month.
While the Changhua prosecutors’ office is investigating whether other Kuai Kuai employees are involved in the post-expiry sales scheme, the Taoyuan County Public Health Bureau began its own probe yesterday to determine whether the snack producer is involved on a corporate level.
Lee Chia-hui (李嘉慧), acting secretary-general of the bureau, said her office was helping the Changhua prosecutors with the probe. Bureau inspectors were reviewing Kuai Kuai’s production and shipment procedures at its Jhongli factory in an attempt to determine how expired or substandard inventory could have been shipped, she said.
Kuai Kuai officials said the company was surprised by the investigations. It said that its Jhongli factory was only responsible for production and for destroying expired products, but was not involved in the sales or marketing of its products. Proclaiming its innocence, the company pledged its full cooperation with the investigations.
Meanwhile, Wu Cheng-hsueh (吳政學), an official at the Consumer Protection Commission, suggested that local health authorities check inventories when conducting spot checks on food stores.