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Taiwan rice distributor Sunsuivi loses license
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-11 02:57 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Chuan Shun Food Enterprises Co., Ltd. became the first rice distributor in 60 years to lose its license Wednesday after the Council of Agriculture investigated the mixing of rice of inferior quality with its higher-priced Sunsuivi brand.

COA Agriculture and Food Agency Li Tsang-lang confirmed the loss of license, resulting in Sunsuivi products to be removed from sale. The company will have to wait at least one year before it can apply for a new license.

The investigation kicked off when Chuan Shun was accused of having added imported rice, mostly from Vietnam, to bags sold as domestic rice under its Sunsuivi label. Tests turned up more instances of adulteration.

COA Minister Chen Bao-ji told reporters that it was a serious matter when supposedly Taiwanese rice turned out not to contain a single Taiwanese rice grain. Unsuitable companies should withdraw from the market and make way for honest small farmers in order to improve their livelihoods, Chen reportedly said.

Chuan Shun was the first company ever to lose its license, reports said. The midsized company was one of almost 2,000 rice distributors, while more than 200 companies also sold small packets of rice.

Three managers at the group, based in Yuanli, Miaoli County, were indicted last month. The sale of mislabeled Sunsuivi rice at all of Taiwan’s major supermarket chains reaped the company a total profit of more than NT$32.81 million (US$1.1 million), prosecutors said.

In the past, the COA was unable to revoke licenses even if companies violated the rules a dozen times, but last September it introduced a new regulation allowing it to strike against producers if they recorded at least four violations. Since adulterated rice was also found in packages from other brands, Chuan Shun might not be the last company to lose its license, reports said.

Agriculture experts reportedly applauded the COA’s action, saying it symbolized the advent of the age of the consumer. The measures against Chuan Shun would warn other rice distributors that such practices were no longer tolerated, experts said. While in the past, the government supported companies to help develop new products for both the domestic and for export markets, it could no longer be lenient for rogue operators, reports said.

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