Taiwan introduces heavier penalties for deceptive food advertising

Companies may face higher fines for deceptive or exaggerated food advertising

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False food advertising to incur heavier fines (Image from CNA)

False food advertising to incur heavier fines (Image from CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Heavier fines and penalties will be imposed on food businesses found to have committed offenses involving false, exaggerated, or misleading advertising for the their food products, according to the guidelines pursuant to Article 45 of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法) published on Monday.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a total of 4,647 advertising violations were reported in 2017, which incurred fines totaling NT$128 million (US$4.27 million). Most of the cases involved boasts of weight loss effects or medical efficacy, reported CNA.

For violators committing repeated offenses of deceptive advertising, they will face incremental fines between NT$40,000, NT$80,000, NT$200,000, NT$400,000 and NT$1 million (1 to 5 times per violation respectively). When advertisements are found to make false claims of medical efficacy, fines will be increased to NT$600,000, NT$700,000, NT$800,000, NT$1 million, and NT$1.25 million (1 to 5 times per violation respectively).

When an offense is repeated, and the sales during the advertising campaign have reached the amount of NT$10 million, or if the product has caused detrimental effects to the health of consumers, the enterprise will be ordered to suspend business for a certain period of time.

More seriously, if the sales during the advertising campaign have exceeded NT$30 million, or the product has led to the death of consumers, the enterprise will be ordered to terminate business, and have all or part of its items listed in the company registration, business registration, or factory registration revoked.

Businesses committing repeated violations of the regulation will be ordered to take their products off the shelves and conduct corrective advertising, where they will be expected to spend an equal amount for similar time period as the original advertising campaign, FDA official Hsu Chao-kai (許朝凱) added.