The owners of a Kaohsiung-based seafood company were yesterday accused of making NT$700 million (US$21.83 million) in the past three years by selling expired seafood to restaurants and traditional markets in central and southern Taiwan, police said.
The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office is investigating the case for alleged breaches of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法) and fraud.
The office begun preliminary investigations after it was notified by the municipal Department of Health of a breach of conduct when on Wednesday last week it seized 95 tonnes of frozen seafood at Jenchang Frozen Foods Co (奇美食品).
Photo: Copied by Huang Chien-hua, Taipei Times
The owner of the company, a 60 year-old man surnamed Chen (陳), allegedly worked in collaboration with his son, who managed fresh365, an online delivery Web site.
Chen allegedly cut expiry dates off cardboard boxes containing seafood and repackaged them so his clients would think the seafood had not expired, police said.
Chen also allegedly shelled old shrimp before selling them to market vendors to deceive them into believing it was fresh. Eighty percent of the goods seized were shelled shrimp.
Chen was quoted by police as saying that he had not intended to stockpile so much frozen product, adding that with the decrease in the number of Chinese tourists in Taiwan, he had not been able to sell as much seafood as he had hoped.
Chen was quoted by police as saying that while the seafood has passed its expiry date, all of it was snap-frozen after he purchased it, adding; “It has not spoiled, even though it is not as fresh, it is still edible; it should not be harmful to people.”
The district prosecutors’ office has questioned 11 people, including Chen, and has obtained a list of 30 intermediary wholesalers, it said, adding it is investigating which restaurants and traditional-market vendors have been affected.
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