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Consumers Foundation finds more food with misleading labels
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-06 04:22 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Consumers Foundation said Friday that tests had shown that several types of candies and biscuits did not contain the ingredients listed in their names.

Peach mints did not contain peach, strawberry chocolates were not made with strawberries, and a grape drink did not have grapes as an ingredient, while a type of pudding was not made with eggs, the foundation said.

The conclusions followed more than a month of investigations over fears that many food products were adulterated with cheaper or even toxic elements by manufacturers to save costs. The scare started in October when Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co., Ltd. had been found to add low-quality cottonseed oil and banned copper chlorophyllin to edible oil products it sold as expensive pure olive oil.

In its latest review, the Consumers Foundation tested eight types of candies, biscuits and other snacks to compare their names with the ingredients. It found that six of the products were not made with foods mentioned in their names. The misleading labels would cause consumers to worry what they had eaten, the foundation said.

Tests on drinks and juices found similar problems. A drink listed as Assam apple tea was not made with apples, a peach tea contained no peaches whatsoever, the strawberry milk was not made out of strawberries and a white grape ‘champagne’ had nothing to do with grapes, the foundation said.

The four products claimed to be made with fruit but all of them relied on flavoring and coloring additives, according to the test results.

Vital ingredients for hot pots popular during the winter months also proved unreliable, the foundation said. A brand of shrimp balls contained fish sauce, squid, egg white, natural colorings, sugar, salt and other ingredients but no shrimp at all, the tests showed.

The Food and Drug Administration needed to take a tougher stance on supervising products and their labeling, the foundation said, otherwise consumers would lose the little confidence they still had in food manufacturers.

Following the edible oil scandal, the FDA has promised tougher legislation, including higher fines and longer prison sentences for food producers found adulterating their products or misrepresenting the ingredients.

Prosecutors requested a 20-year prison sentence for Chang Chi Chairman Kao Chen-li, whose trial in Changhua County is expected to come to a verdict later this month.

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