After Chyuan Shun Food Enterprise Co was found mixing cheaper Vietnamese rice with Taiwanese rice and selling the mixture as domestic rice in August, the institute responsible for issuing the Certified Agricultural Standard (CAS) label has withdrawn its label from the company’s 11 products.
The discovery that Chyuan Shun — one of Taiwan’s three major rice mills and distributors — was mixing imported rice with domestic rice in one of its popular packaged rice products led to the Council of Agriculture expanding its inspection of packaged rice labeling last month, and results showed nearly one-fifth of the sample products had labelling problems.
The Food Processing Division of the council’s Husbandry Division said on Sunday that Chyuan Shun’s case was judged more severely as it constituted fraud, so the Taiwan Premium Agricultural Products Development Institute had decided to withdraw the CAS label given to its other 11 products late last month.
Several lawmakers on the legislature’s Economics Committee yesterday morning asked why the 11 products were not pulled off shelves to protect the consumers’ rights.
Council Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said the 11 products did not violate the criteria for the CAS label, but that the institute withdrew the label to protect the CAS label’s credibility.
However, having rechecked related regulations later in the afternoon, Chen said although the 11 products were not labeled falsely, it could still withdraw the CAS labels for the company’s managerial problems and even order the products to be pulled off shelves, and that the council would withdraw its labels immediately.
In addition, he said the council is also deliberating whether the rice dealers’ license registration system — which has been enforced for more than 60 years — should be abolished, so that local farmers and local dealers with smaller farms or mills can sell their rice locally.