27 organic food products fail to pass health probe: Taipei City Government

27 organic food products fail to pass health probe: Taipei City Government

TAIPEI - The Taipei City Government published the results of inspections on organic food products yesterday, saying that of a total of 997 products, 27 items failed to pass tests.

Fines and recall orders have already been issued to the companies involved, authorities reported.

After national food scandals were uncovered one after another in recent months, local governments have been strengthening food inspections.

The Taipei City Government said it has already issued fines to companies in Taipei that were responsible for seven products that were discovered to be mislabeled and failed to meet national organic standards. The total fine reached NT$300,000 (S$12,650), said officials.

Authorities transferred the 20 other cases to the relevant local governments in other cities and counties.

Kao Chen-yuan, an official from the Taipei Department of Economic Development, said the rate of acceptability in this inspection was 97.29 percent.

Of the problematic products, 22 were imported and five were local. If the same violation is discovered in these products in the future, the fine will be 150 percent higher than that issued this time, said Kao.

Kao also reminded food companies that for any products labelled organic, whether imported or locally produced, they should apply for legal certification from the Council of Agriculture and mark the certification number on their products.

Problematic Pesticide Discovered in Pingtung

Pingtung County Field Office of Investigation yesterday announced that it had uncovered 1,176 kilograms of a pesticide that is thought to contain illegal drugs after a report from a local farmer.

According to officials, the problematic pesticide was found in a store in Wandan Township, Pingtung County and the relevant authorities began investigations into the owner, surnamed Dong, after the farmer reported the matter two months ago.

Officials said the store had been recommended to the farmer.

However, the pesticide he purchased did not have government certification numbers and there was very little information on the packaging; he therefore decided to report to authorities.

After two months of investigations, officials found that although Dong was also selling legal pesticides, he would sometimes go to a warehouse to collect unknown pesticide products to sell to farmers, according to officials.

Authorities stated that Dong had stored 1,179 kilograms of pesticides, worth about NT$2 million, for which no source can be traced and which could be problematic.

So far, Dong has not revealed any of his suppliers, and investigators are working to trace the products and discover who may have bought his products in the past.

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