A beverage ingredients factory in Kaohsiung was yesterday cited for unsanitary conditions by the Kaohsiung Department of Health shortly after a former employee described the workplace in a news report.
An inspection last month revealed multiple code breaches at a 60-year-old melon tea store in Cianjin District (前金), including ingredients and kitchenware stored without being covered, and cobwebs and dust in preparation areas, the department said in a news release.
The factory has been ordered to comply with regulations or face a NT$60,000 to NT$200 million (US$2,155 to US$7.18 million) fine, the department said, citing the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法).
No disease-carrying animals were found on site, the department said, adding that the inspection was conducted the day after a complaint was filed by a member of the public on Jan. 28.
Citing a former employee, Chinese-language cable television channel EBC News earlier on Jan. 28 reported that a dead rat and dead bees had been found in a pot in the factory.
Images and a video, reportedly taken by a former employee at the factory, were aired with the segment.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the former employee told EBC News that the factory supplies beverage ingredients to stores across Taiwan.
The owner concealed issues from regulators as they were warned about upcoming inspections by officials, the former employee said.
The owner of the factory, surnamed Lin (林), said that the images were taken in the venue’s kitchen a year earlier.
After the first of six inspections, the business has improved its health and sanitation standards, including covering ingredients and kitchenware, Lin said.
The former employee probably filed the complaint in retaliation for being fired for poor performance, Lin said, adding that the firm is considering legal action.
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