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Food safety scam found at seafood distributor

Dates on 5 frozen seafood products were mislabeled

Food safety scandal uncovered at fish distributor

Food safety scandal uncovered at fish distributor (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The sell-by dates on five frozen seafood products distributed by Hsiang Er Sheng Co. were tampered with, according to the results of an investigation by the Taipei City health authorities announced Friday.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office raided a site on Taipei’s Renai Road Thursday where they found evidence dating back to 2014 that dates had been changed on the products, which included three types of abalone from Chile’s Panamericana Seafood, ice fish and salmon.

The Taiwanese distributor, a man surnamed Chen, refused to cooperate with the investigation, so he was summoned for questioning, inspectors said. The authorities have asked stores to check whether they had bought the products and to remove them from shelves if they had.

Hsiang Er Sheng could be facing a fine ranging from NT$60,000 (US$1,880) to NT$200 million (US$6.2 million) according to food safety legislation which was tightened considerably following a ream of major food scandals over the past few years.

In 2013 and 2014, Taiwan was hit by major food safety scares involving adulterated cooking oil, pesticides on imported tea leaves and tampering with production or sell-by dates for a range of products.

Food safety reform was one of the major topics in the campaign for last January’s presidential and legislative elections.