Taiwan to "strengthen food safety measures"

Taiwan to "strengthen food safety measures"

The Taiwanese government has unveiled plans to increase fines for food safety violations in the wake of this month's "gutter oil" scandal.

In a statement released today (18 September), the Taiwanese Food and Drug Administration announced a rise in fines for companies found in breach of food safety regulations. Penalties will be raised to a maximum TWD200m (US$16.5m) if an incident results in death, regulators said.

People convicted of lacing food with banned materials or falsifying ingredients will also face a maximum seven-year prison sentence, up from the current five-year term, the Taiwanese authorities added.

In addition, the government is offering an incentive for whistle blowers that alert it to dangerous practices. A maximum TWD2m reward will be offered to people who provide information on food safety breaches. This figure doubles to TWD4m if an employee provides incriminating information relating to their own company.

The move follows a sandal that emerged earlier this month, when 243 tonnes of tainted oil products manufactured by supplier Chang Guann Co. were found to have entered the food chain.

Chang Guann was fined TWD50m for processing "rancid" and "inferior" oil collected from cookers and grease traps. The company allegedly mixed the oil, frequently known as "gutter oil", with lard and then reselling it as edible oil.