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Seasoning vendor worker detained in food safety case

02/28/2024 12:35 PM
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Yunlin County officials investigate the Yunlin plant of Taipei-based spice company Chi-Seng Co. Ltd. Photo courtesy of Yunlin District Prosecutors Office
Yunlin County officials investigate the Yunlin plant of Taipei-based spice company Chi-Seng Co. Ltd. Photo courtesy of Yunlin District Prosecutors Office

Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) A spice company employee who is suspected by prosecutors of falsifying a safety report to cover up the presence of a prohibited dye in a product has been ordered detained by the Taiwan Yunlin District Court, prosecutors said Tuesday.

A Taiwan Yunlin District Prosecutors Office spokesperson said the head of research and development at spice vendor Chi-Seng Co. Ltd., a man surnamed Kuo (郭), has been ordered detained, while a subordinate, a woman surnamed Kuo, has been released on NT$50,000 (US$1,580) bail.

The two individuals are suspected of violating the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation by falsifying a report on a powder seasoning from quality testing company SGS Taiwan.

SGS found the powder to contain Sudan III, a red industrial dye banned from use in food processing in Taiwan that is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Category 3 carcinogen.

The employees allegedly falsified the report to prevent the product's clients, including retailer PX Mart, from thinking the product was not safe.

The seasoning was sourced from New Taipei-based raw material dealer Bao Hsin Enterprises Co. and supplied by Chinese company Sanhe Drug Co.

In addition to the two Kuos, five other employees with the company questioned on Monday were released on bail of between NT$20,000 and NT$1.5 million, prosecutors said.

The case of Sudan dyes came to light when the Chi-Seng product was tested by Yunlin health authorities on Jan. 30 and found it to contain the banned chemical.

The discovery led to random inspections that have so far shown four batches of problematic chili powder supplied by Bao Hsin, Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration said, adding that 21,234.5 kilograms of the powder had been recalled as of Monday.

(By Huang Kuo-fang and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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