Bogus bottled beverage: company caught selling fake mineral water

Taipei, April 24 (CNA) A bottled water manufacturer in Kaohsiung City has been discovered to be selling bogus mineral water made from unlicensed underground water resources, prosecutors said Friday. According to an investigation by prosecutors, Puli Enterprise in Kaohsiung's Dashu District was found to be running an illegal factory to extract underground water. The company then adulterated the underground water with water resources purchased from legal manufacturers and passed the products off as mineral water or distilled water. The products, packaged in 16-liter or 20-liter bottles, have been sold to over 20,000 companies and hotels in Kaohsiung and neighboring Pingtung County, prosecutors said. The discovery has come amid a fresh food scare linked to tea beverages containing traces of pesticides. Also Friday, the Cabinet-level Consumer Protection Committee (CPC) said 13 breakfast restaurants have failed a food safety inspection. The 13 were among 30 restaurants inspected by CPC officials. Of the 58 ingredient samples such as meat patties and eggs collected from the restaurants, seven were found to contain residues of animal drugs, including nicarbazin, ormetoprim, semicarbazide and trimethoprim. None of these chemicals are permitted in foodstuff. Meanwhile, E. coli was detected in 10 of 64 food samples collected. Chueh Li-ching, a research fellow at the Food and Drug Administration, said the levels of animal drug residues detected this time are very low and she urged consumers not to panic. Still, the restaurants face hefty fines and have been ordered by local authorities to take the problematic products off their menus. (By Chang Che-fon, Wu Ching-chun and Y.F. Low)