The Amendment to Act Governing Food Sanitation Imposes Comprehensively Stricter Penalties on Non-Compliant Businesses
In view of the series of the outbreaks of recent food safety incidents, including starch containing maleic anhydride, soy sauce containing excessive 3-MCPD (3-monochloro-1,2-propanediol), and the use of expired material, such as soy protein isolate and locust bean gum, it appears that the businesses are not self-disciplined on the management of food source control and that the existing regulations are not an effective deterrent in preventing such incidents. To stop the businesses from repeatedly committing illegal conducts, the said amendment increases the penalties for various types of violations.
According to Article 44 under the said amendment, the fines for violations of regulations such as food or food additives containing toxics or substances that are harmful to human health, containing pesticide residues or veterinary drug residues that exceed the maximum limits and being used after their expiry date, increased from NT$60,000~NT$6,000,000 to NT$60,000~NT$15,000,000. If the illegal businesses profit more than the statutory maximum amount of fines, and the circumstances are considered severe, the businesses may be fined within the scope of their profit.
For those who violate food sanitation and safety standards, food additive limit standards, product labeling standards, etc., the fines are raised from NT$30,000~NT$150,000 to NT$30,000~NT$3,000,000. In severe circumstances, violators may be ordered to terminate business or suspend business. This penalty is not limited to those who have violated the said standards within one year (Article 47 and Article 48 under the said amendment)
Under the consideration that the consumers’ behaviors, health, and rights are seriously affected by their reliance on the products claiming medical efficacy, the amendment also ens the fines, from NT$200,000~NT$1,000,000 to NT$ 600,000~NT$5,000,000, for such violations of the regulation as foods labeled, promoted or advertised as having medical efficacy. In addition to the fines, the businesses are required to broadcast advertisement correction notice in order to impose more liabilities on violating businesses and help the public to better understand what aspects of the information delivered by the previous advertisement are wrong (Article 45 and Article 46 under the said amendment).
Under the current act, food suppliers shall be subject to criminal penalties only upon the proof that their illegal conduct leads to the detriment of human health. However, according to Article 49 under the said amendment, persons shall be sentenced to imprisonment of no more than three years if they use impermissible additives, mix with fakes or counterfeit. If death results from the offense, the offender may be sentenced to up to life imprisonment (Article 49 under the said amendment).
The said amendment becomes effective immediately after the promulgation by the President. The amendment purposes to establish a sound food safety management system and to relieve the consumers anxiety toward food safety, by means of empowering and obliging the health authorities, extending the responsibilities of food businesses and increasing the fines and criminal penalties for violations.