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Consumers' Foundation opposed to lower rice inspection criteria
Central News Agency
2014-01-18 08:38 PM
Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) The Consumers' Foundation said Saturday that it would oppose any move by the Council of Agriculture (COA) to lower the criteria for rice inspection and grading. The foundation said that if the COA takes such a step, it will lodge a complaint with the Control Yuan, the nation's highest watchdog body, charging that the government agency is pandering to major food suppliers. The foundation was commenting on efforts by major food suppliers to have the inspection and grading standards lowered, an issue that is being discussed in meetings with the COA. Food suppliers have complained several times that they are unable to meet Taiwan's standards for grading rice as the criteria are more stringent than in other countries . Currently, rice is graded at four levels in Taiwan based on 10 indicators formulated in 1971. The COA has invited scholars, experts, consumer groups and food suppliers to meetings to discuss how to bring the criteria in line with international standards, with a view to revising the standards in six months time. Taiwan imposed stricter food regulations last September after the COA found a series of labeling violations in packaged rice sold on the market, mostly in the form of suppliers mixing local products with cheap imported rice. Under the new regulations, food suppliers could lose their licenses if they rack up four or more violations in a year. As a result, many suppliers have been downgrading their rice without adjusting their prices, which has drawn complaints from consumers. (By Yang Shu-min and Lilian Wu)
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