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Scallops from Japan found labeled with forged safety certificate

2018/11/14 19:08:15

Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Taipei, Nov. 14 (CNA) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seized more than six tons of frozen scallops imported from Japan's Hokkaido Prefecture that were labeled with counterfeit safety certificates during a recent raid at a Kaohsiung-based trading company, the agency said Wednesday.

In addition to the certificates mimicking one issued by the Notske fisheries cooperative in Hokkaido, the seafood was found packed in counterfeit paper cartons indicating that they came from Japanese big brand Kadowaki Suisan, the FDA said in a statement.

FDA division chief Lu Yun-ju (呂昀儒) told CNA that the importer, Sheng Yang Hang (昇洋行), purchased some 9,000 kilograms of scallops in Hokkaido and had them shipped to Taiwan in July last year.

The import was legal and the shellfish were approved for sale in Taiwan, according to Lu.

However, the agency was tipped-off by the Sapporo branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan late last year that the trading company was suspected of selling local consumers cheap products disguised as highly priced premium goods with counterfeit brand-name company packaging, Lu said.

Following a probe that lasted for several months, the FDA launched the raid in Kaohsiung, which exposed the irregularity, gathering a total of 6,490 kg of frozen scallops bearing counterfeit safety certificate stickers, she added.

Lu noted that the seafood posed no health threat to consumers because it was imported in accordance with FDA border inspection regulations and was permitted to be marketed in Taiwan.

According to the FDA, Sheng Yang Hang was found to have sold over 1,000 kg of mislabeled scallops. The Kaohsiung Department of Health has screened all possible distribution channels to make sure no such products have made it into local markets.

Under the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, the offense of forging company packaging and safety certificate stickers is subject to a fine ranging between NT$40,000 (US$1,293) and NT$4 million.

Sheng Yang Hang's operators are also faced with charges of fraud and selling products with fake labels. The case has been submitted to a district prosecutors office for further investigation.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)