Nearly a fifth of a government inspection of 127 samples of packaged rice failed to meet standards, the Agriculture and Food Agency said yesterday.
Following the discovery last month that Chyuan Shun Food Enterprise Co — one of the three largest rice mills and distributors in the nation that markets its products under the name Shanshui Rice — had been selling a type of packaged rice labeled as domestically grown, but which was actually mixed with cheaper imported rice, the agency said it had expanded its inspection of packaged rice.
It tested 127 products from 26 companies — 42 by Chyuan Shun, 21 by Yeedon Enterprise Co (Sanhao Rice), 21 by Union Rice Co (Zhongxin Rice) and 43 products from 23 other companies — that were sold in supermarkets and hypermarkets
The inspection again found that two products from Chyuan Shun were mislabeled, with the product origin described as 50 percent from Taiwan and 50 percent from Thailand, but test results showed that the bags did not contain any domestic rice.
The company was fined NT$200,000 (US$6,750) for each product in accordance with the Food Administration Act (糧食管理法).
Still another product by Chyuan Chun resulted in a NT$40,000 fine for mislabeling the type of rice variety. The agency ordered that all three products be pulled off the shelves immediately.
The 21 other products were found to have other labeling problems or were not up to standard, and the companies were given 30 days to make improvements.
The agency added that it had made some changes to penalties for violating the Food Administration Act to improve food monitoring and management. These include directly fining companies with serious false labeling problems and requiring them to withdraw their products immediately.
Companies found at fault and punished more than three times in a year would have their registration certificate invalidated, the agency said.
The agency said it had inspected 2,557 packaged rice products since June 2011, of which producers of 332 products were asked to improve within a certain period and 46 faced aggregate penalties of NT$2.02 million.