Kaohsiung, Oct. 22 (CNA) Kaohsiung's city council amended municipal food safety rules Wednesday to offer whistleblowers 60 percent of fines levied on convicted companies -- the highest cash award offered by any jurisdiction in Taiwan.
City councilors from across pary lines unanimously approved the amendment to the food industry regulations, a move fueled by the revelation that Kaohsiung-based Cheng I Food Co. has been selling substandard oil to food manufacturers in the latest food scandal to rock the country.
Cheng I has been fined NT$50 million (US$1.67 million) on charges of violating the nation's food safety laws. That means that if the new rules had been in effect and the news had originally been broken by an internal whistleblower, he or she would have been eligible for NT$30 million in cash.
Similar rules in other cities and counties dole out 10-50 percent of the fine on a convicted company.
Lian Li-jian, a city councilman of the Democratic Progressive Party who initiated the move to amend the rules, said giving incentives to workers at companies that could have illegal practices would help deter unethical acts.
He noted that the amendment passed by the council also contains provisions that ensure the safety and job security of workers tipping off authorities.
The amended food safety regulations further require food makers to keep food storage and waste disposal zones separate at their factories.
Food additives and raw petrochemical materials will also need to be kept in separate zones of food processing facilities, Lien pointed out.
Meanwhile, Chiang Been-huang, who was earlier in the day sworn in as the nation's minister of health and welfare, said his priority will be to "rebuild the country's food safety system as well as its image as a food kingdom."