The Council of Agriculture on Wednesday released the results of its latest inspections of packaged rice products, which may lead to one of the nation’s top three rice companies having its license withdrawn.
The council’s Agriculture and Food Agency said its inspections on a total of 253 packaged rice products — to check on their labeling and rice quality — in the fourth quarter last year showed that 21 of the 232 products it looked at were found to not match labeling standards — which represented a 92 percent qualification rate.
Fourteen among 239 products failed to conform to the rice quality grade standards — marking a 94 percent qualification rate.
Among the companies that produced the 21 products with label issues, seven were fined from NT$30,000 to NT$200,000 for more serious violations, and the other companies were given 24 days to improve the labels.
The agency said the Operational Guidelines Governing the Penalties on Violation of the Food Administration Act (違反糧食管理法案件處分裁量作業要點) were amended in September last year, stipulating that if four violations are found in any of a rice company’s products — not limited to four violations on a single product — the firm may have its license withdrawn.
FDA Deputy Director-
General Chen Chien-pin (陳建斌) said Union Rice — which produces the Zhong Xin Rice (中興米) brand — had been fined in August last year for two products that failed to align with the agency’s standards, fined for another product in follow-up inspections, and a fourth product was found in violation in the latest inspection, giving the agency the authority to withdraw Union Rice’s license.
However, he said the company has filed an appeal over the findings, and that the agency would wait for a decision from the petitions and appeals committee before it decided whether to take any further action.