The Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s conviction of Chou Te-yung (周德永) for providing industrial-grade gypsum powder for use in tofu products, handing down a six-month prison sentence and a fine of NT$3 million (US$98,454).
It is the final ruling on the case and cannot be appealed, but 76-year-old Chou is not expected to spend time in jail, as the court said the prison term was commutable to a fine of NT$180,000.
The court convicted Chou, owner of New Taipei City-based Yung Chang Gypsum Chemical Co (永昌石膏化工), of contravening the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法).
Authorities in 2014 launched an investigation after New Taipei City food safety inspectors found industrial-grade gypsum in tofu pudding and other tofu products made by Lu Chia Foods Co (盧佳食品); a case that became known as the “tainted tofu pudding scandal.”
The investigation found Chou had imported industrial-grade gypsum powder from China, which also carried risks of containing adulterants and high levels of toxic chemical substances.
Food-grade gypsum powder is used in the coagulation process to turn soybean milk into tofu, while industrial-grade gypsum is used to make plaster and drywall materials used in construction and interior design.
Only certified food-grade gypsum powder is permitted in tofu production, but manufacturers have been known to falsify inspection documents to save money, as industrial-grade gypsum powder is much cheaper.
Lu Chia Foods makes traditional desserts such as tofu pudding and grass jelly, which are usually mixed with syrup, beans, cereals, nuts or fruits.
In the first ruling by a district court, Chou was found not guilty, as the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Department of Food Safety was considering amendments to permit some forms of anhydrous calcium sulfate derived from gypsum to be used in foodstuffs.
However, Chou was found guilty in the second ruling by the Taiwan High Court, which said that he had violated the food safety act and that documents were falsified to deceive Lu Chia Foods and other downstream food processors.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up