Taipei, June 8 (CNA) Investigators in Tainan referred the cases of two producers of rice wine in Taichung and Kaohsiung to prosecutors Friday after finding evidence indicating that they may have misrepresented their products' alcohol content on their labels.
Investigators said they seized more than 24,000 bottles of rice wine made by the two vendors whose labels showed an alcohol content of 19.5 percent when it was actually only 8-10 percent.
Customers were misled into believing that they were getting a bargain because the wine was sold for half the price of other brands on the market, but they were actually buying substandard products instead, investigators said.
At least 1.5 million bottles of the inaccurately labeled wine from the two suppliers have been sold on the market in recent years, with 1 million coming from the Taichung company in the last four years and 500,000 sold by the Kaohsiung company during the past two years.
The company in Taichung has been fined for false labeling 25 times since it began selling the falsely labeled wine, according to local media, and has accumulated more than NT$3 million (US$100,133) in unpaid fines.
Whenever it had to pay a fine, the Taichung company would choose to let authorities seize the wine instead, but then would buy the wine back at a lower price when it was auctioned off by government agencies and resume selling it, investigators said.
Their low-alcohol wines were mostly sold to traditional grocery stores and restaurants serving ginger duck and lamb hot pots, they added.
(By Chang Jung-hsiang and Scully Hsiao)