He thought his fish paste deserved a higher grade. The court didn’t agree

The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chuang Chin-yong (莊錦墉), the head of a major import firm, was sentenced Thursday to a year in prison for tampering with the expiration dates of starch products and the grade of fish paste. The sentence can be appealed.

Chuang told the court he had tasted the fish paste himself and felt that the grade needed to be changed to reflect the quality of the products.

Often shaped into balls or used to make fake crab sticks, the paste is pulverized fish that becomes soft and springy when cooked. It’s commonly served with hot pot.

The company was deemed innocent, while its salesman Yu Chung-ho (余忠和) and general manager Yang Lee-jung (楊立榮) were handed two-month and eight-month terms respectively for involvement in the forgery of documents.

Their sentences can be commuted to a fine.

Between 2010 and 2013, the three worked together to tamper with the expiration dates of modified starch products imported from Thailand, Denmark and other countries, according to the Taipei District Court.

Yu provided the court with evidence that, under Chuang’s orders, he was repackaging starch in new packages with false expiration dates, which were then sold to downstream suppliers.

When investigating the case, prosecutors discovered that the company’s staff had also altered the grade of imported fish paste to improve sales, boosting the paste from “A” to “AA,” and “SA” to “SAA.”