FDA pressures researcher, publisher of tainted-milk study

By Lauly Li ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said it had formally demanded that Business Weekly magazine, and Chen Liang-yu (陳良宇), a biotechnology professor at Ming Chuan University, provide details of their examinations on dairy products no later than today. The Chinese-language Business Weekly commissioned Chen to analyze nine dairy products in the market. Chen published a report in the magazine claiming that residues of various illicit drugs are found in the test samples.

The FDA, which is under the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW), and the Council of Agriculture (COA) had dispatched health inspectors to the dairy product manufacturers and examined the products.

Both the FDA and COA have said that after running numerous tests on the eight products mentioned by the magazine, no residues of illegal drugs were found inside the dairy products. The remaining product is no longer available as the manufacturer has stopped production of it for a while,

FDA Deputy Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) said the administration has tested 48 different drugs that are allowed to be used on animals to the eight products, including those mentioned by the magazine, none of them have been found in the milk tested. Chiang added that the FDA will keep testing for other drugs. The FDA said Business Weekly and Chen should provide the details of their research, including research methods, and detailed results to the administration before 4 p.m. today. Failing to do so would subject the two to fines between NT$5,000 and NT$300,000, the FDA said.

“The door of the MHW is opened,” Chiang said, noting that the ministry has not been able to contact Chen, and he has not contacted the ministry to explain the matter. Chiang went on to say that given Business Weekly report’s huge impact on the public, the media outlet should proactively offer relevant information to the MHW and to clarify the fact to people as soon as possible.

Based on both the FDA and the COA’s examination results, “99.9 percent of dairy products on the shelves are safe and of quality,” Chiang said.

Bifido Sues Magazine Taiwan Bifido Foods Corporation yesterday pressed charges over Business Weekly’s report.

The firm’s Good Friend Cocoa Milk is one of the products claimed by the magazine to have contained illicit drugs residues; however, thus far, the FDA and the COA have found no evidence to prove its product is problematic.

Taiwan Bifido said the report has caused the firm to suffer 30-percent losses, amounting to around NT$30 million to NT$40 million.

Business Weekly Response Business Weekly said the government should not target the media outlet and sidetrack the point of the report, noting that it is the government’s obligation to tell people if the dairy products on the market are safe to drink or not.

The media further noted that the research was conducted in a government-certified laboratory but not in a laboratory at Ming Chuan University, and it has confidence in the laboratory’s scientists.

FDA to Fine Taisun and Ting Hsin Meanwhile, FDA Director-General Yeh Ming-kung (葉明功) said Ting Hsin International Group and Taisun Enterprise Co. should be fined for disseminating untrue advertisements in an attempt to mislead people. A prohibited food additive copper chlorophyllin complex was discovered inside the oil products of the aforementioned firms, nevertheless, the firms recently posted advertisements on various media outlets and claimed they were victims in the oil scandals.