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Vendors of memory retention gum could face seven years in jail

2017/10/23 22:13:16

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) Local online vendors of a Japanese chewing gum that claims to improve memory retention could face up to seven years in prison and a NT$50 million (US$1.65 million) fine, an official from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in an interview on Monday.

In a statement issued earlier Monday, the FDA said a Japanese chewing gum that allegedly improves memory retention is governed under regulations for controlled drugs and medicine, not those for food products, because the gum contains ginkgo biloba leaf extract, a substance that has not been approved as a food ingredient in Taiwan.

FDA section chief Chiang Chien-chi (江仟琦) later said vendors of the gum in Taiwan could face up to seven years in jail and a NT$50 million fine as all controlled drugs must first be approved by and registered with the Ministry of Health and Welfare before being sold.

The untested and unregistered gum was first reported to the FDA at the end of September, and the administration quickly asked the online vendor to remove the product from the website, Chiang said.

The product has since resurfaced online, however, possibly promoted by a different vendor, and the FDA will contact the company responsible to pull it off websites, Chiang said.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Kuan-lin Liu)