Health Ministry set to give inspection results from cooking oil plants

By Joy Lee,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) yesterday announced that inspections of 163 cooking oil factories are now in progress, with results to be announced in one week.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said that Tatung Changchi Foodstuff Factory Co. Ltd. (大統長基食品), which was accused of selling impure products and releasing deceptive advertisements, was hit with a record fine of about NT$28.6 million. “This is the first time that regulations of the newly revised Act Governing Food Sanitation have been applied to a case,” said Chiu.

“Prosecutors are also looking into the criminal liability that Tatung Changchi should shoulder as well as the illegal income that the company earned,” said Chiu. “The authorities will do their best to retrieve the illegal income after making exact calculations.”

Chiu said that the MHW received a report on these tainted cooking oil case on Aug. 28, but local health bureaus could not collect further information even after four trips to the factory.

“The MHW did not hide this case from the public because local health officials worked hard to investigate after receiving the report on Tatung Changchi,” said Chiu.

“I did know that Tatung Changchi refused to allow health officials to inspect the factory until September,” said Chiu. “After I was informed of the difficulties local health officials encountered, I immediately asked prosecutors to launch an investigation into the case.”

Chiu said that most of the recently revealed food safety issues are actually issues that have existed for years, so he will do his best as the head of the Health Ministry to root out and prosecute more food safety issues.

“No matter how strict the standards for obtaining a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate are, it is hard to compete with the ugliness of humanity,” said Chiu. 149 Schools Fall Victim to Tainted Oil: MOE

The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday announced that 149 schools, from elementary schools to universities, across 11 cities and counties prepared lunches with cooking oil originating from Tatung Changchi.

The MOE said that it has demanded that the lunch providers stop using cooking oil manufactured by Tatung Changchi.

According to the MOE, 119 of the 123 listed primary and secondary schools prepared student lunches in schools’ central kitchens, while the other four schools ordered lunches from food service providers.

Chen Hui-ling (陳慧玲) of the MOE said that the ministry has issued an order to request all schools to stop using cooking oil manufactured by Tatung Changchi.

“To avoid triggering a panic, the MOE decided not to list the names of the schools using the tainted cooking oil,” said Chen. “If there are more cooking oil manufacturers discovered to have produced tainted oil, the MOE will ask schools to stop using their products as well.”

According to the MOE, the schools using tainted cooking oil includes 26 schools in Miaoli County, 19 schools in Tainan City, 16 schools in Hsinchu County, 15 schools in Changhua County, 12 schools in Chiayi County, 10 schools in Nantou County, nine schools in Taichung City, seven schools in Pintung County, four schools in New Taipei City, three schools in Chiayi City, and two schools in Penghu County.