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Maker of tainted food additives sentenced to 13 years

2011/10/28 22:18:43

Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) The Taiwan Banciao District Court on Friday handed out a 13-year jail sentence to the maker of contaminated food additives on fraud charges and for violating the Act Governing Food Sanitation.

Chen Cher-hsiung, owner of Pin Han Perfumery Co., was sentenced to 13 years, while his wife Wang Fen, an accountant in the company, was given 10 years in a case that sent the country into a panic in May.

But Chen Wei-chuan, who helped manufacture the company's tainted clouding agent, and Chen Wei-cheng, the nominal head of the company, were found not guilty.

The defendants can appeal the verdict.

Prosecutors charged that Chen's company added the banned plasticizer DINP to its clouding agent -- a legal food additive commonly found in fruit juices, jams and sports drinks -- to save money and add stability to processed foods and beverages.

Between August 2005 and May 2011, the company delivered the tainted clouding agent to seven major food manufacturers, including Uni-President, they said.

The discovery of plasticizers in many processed foods in May this year sparked a panic and forced the recall of hundreds of products around the country, undermining the confidence of Taiwan's consumers in the country's food supply and tarnishing the country's reputation abroad.

(By Lee Hsiang-chun and Lilian Wu)