Cabinet to review GMP system over tainted oil

By Lauly Li,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday said he will request the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to review the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) system, noting that if the GMP fails to guarantee food safety, then “it is worthy to review the necessity of the system’s existence.” Kuomintang Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) yesterday during an interpellation at the Yuan Sittings said Tatung Changchi Foodstuff Factory Co. (大統長基食品) obtained over 10 GMP stamps and yet its products were discovered to contain added cottonseed oils.

The residual gossypol in cottonseed oil can be harmful to the human reproductive system, according to domestic biotechnological experts. Lu further questioned Jiang that given the fact that the credibility of GMP is tottering due to the exposure of the tainted oil products, should the government be jointly liable for compensation over the failure of GMP system? Jiang said “if the GMP fails to do what it is supposed to do, then the government should hold itself accountable over the incident.” The premier said the Cabinet already demanded local governments to remove oil products of Changchi from the shelves within one week. He added that shop operators will be fined by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) should they be discovered selling Changchi’s products a week after. Jiang admitted that the number of food inspectors in the nation is insufficient, and food inspection standards have room for improvement. He said the Cabinet will form a task force to inspect any tainted food products, adding that at the same time, it will raise the levels of food safety standards and examinations. Third Party Examination

The premier further explained that the nation currently requires a food product to be tested by the food manufacturer itself and the GMP system, noting that in the future, the government will require it to be further tested by domestic academia and food safety organizations before getting onto shelves. The MHW will amend the Act Governing Food Sanitation to demand that food manufacturers test their products regularly and establish a test result record in order to strengthen their quality management, Jiang said. The Cabinet said it will also draft a law aimed at punishing any violation in regards to food safety issues, noting that violators will face a fine of NT$1.5 million at most, and could face life-imprisonment under the most severe circumstances.

The draft will also state that for any food manufacturer adding uncertified food addictives into their products, they may be directly transferred to judicial authorities and face a three-year jail term, the Cabinet said.