The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced that it has raised the reward for whistle-blowers and others who tip off the government to food safety violators, a day before a district court was set to hand down a verdict in an edible oil case that has shaken confidence in locally-produced food products.
FDA Deputy Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) said that newly amended FDA regulations will allow anyone providing tips that lead to the discovery of violations to receive a 5 percent to 10 percent cut of the fine imposed on the offender. The previous regulations only offered 5 percent.
Meanwhile, the Changhua District Court is set to make its verdict in the case against Chang Chi Foodstuff Co, whose Tatung-branded oil, labeled 100 percent pure, was found to be adulterated with cotton seed oil and a banned coloring agent.
Chang Chi owner Kao Chen-li (高振利) and two employees were charged with fraud and violating the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) with the court also considering charges under the Criminal Code. Kao and the two employees confessed to the charges, but argued that they did not constitute criminal conduct.
Prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of 20 years for Kao but leniency for the two employees on the grounds that they were only following instructions to hold onto their jobs.