Some vendors have been accused of scavenging through garbage for discarded produce at Taipei’s First Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market (台北市第一果菜市場) in Wanhua District to then resell to customers, according to media reports.
As many vendors at the wholesale market may discard produce that may be poor quality or over-ripe, some unscrupulous businesspeople have taken to rummaging through the trash for food that could be immediately used. It is unclear whether those picking fruit and vegetables from the trash run restaurants or are just supplying restaurants with the found produce.
The Taipei City Department of Health said today that it has dispatched inspectors to local restaurants to investigate the accusations. If the department finds violations it will issue fines to the restaurants and vendors.
Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Director Li Ching-fen (李青芬) said that reselling discarded food is in violation of Article 15 of the Food Safety Law, and those involved will be punished. Li added that the department is also sending out inspectors to investigate the situation.
Li noted that if the public notices or suspects restaurants of reusing discarded food products, they should notify the FDA. If a vendor is found in violation of the Food Safety Law, he or she will be fined NT$60,000 to NT$200,000.
Taipei City Department of Economic Development said that Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co. (臺北農產運銷股份有限公司) is responsible for management of cleanup at the wholesale market. The company will be required to step up supervision of cleaning operations to ensure that no one is rummaging through trash for discarded produce. If the company does not improve the issue, the department may take action and punish the company.