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New Measures Devised to Tackle Taiwan's Tainted Cooking Oil Crisis

Sep 19, 2014 | By CENS

Taiwan's Minster-without-Portfolio B.H. Chiang and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) have separately announced new food-management measures to salvage the image of Taiwan's food industry, which has been tarnished by various oil suppliers in Taiwan and HK importing fodder-grade oils of mixture of industrial oil, used lard.

Chiang, a food scientist, said the government will accelerate the establishment of its "food cloud" and introduce the updated version at the end of this year, with all food manufacturers on the island  required to register with the cloud to enable tracking and monitoring.

Chiang has been designated by Premier Jiang Yi-huah to assist Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo to supervise an ad hoc unit organized to deal with the snowballing scandal involving an underground oil factory owned by Guo Lieh-cheng and the Good Manufacturing Practice-certified (GMP-certified) oil company Chang Guann. Guo blended a mixture of oils recycled from kitchen leftovers with fresh lard, while Chang Guann sold the hazardous oil in Taiwan and abroad.

Taiwan's Cabinet had taken three measures to tighten control of  food management after similar cooking oil crisis late last year involving Tatung Changchi Foodstuff Co. and Flavor Full Foods Co., specifically to enhance the functions of food auditors, set up food cloud, and reinforce governmental units' ability to respond to crisis.

Such measures and food management acts allowed Guo to fall through the crack for he was not registered with the government.

Chiang said besides asking the food auditors to further investigate the tainted oil case he had instructed relevant government organizations to accelerate setting up the food cloud after the Ministry of Health and Welfare takes over the older version from the Council of Agriculture.

The tainted lard crisis has also compelled the MOEA to shorten the grace period of the old GMP system, pushing forward the phase-out date of the old system to January 1 from the originally planned March 31. The ministry phased in the new system on April 1 this year after the Tatung Changchi event erupted. Before the phase-out, all GMP food manufacturers have to send  products for certification as per  the new system.

MOEA officials say that Chang Guann had further damaged GMP system's reputation, inadvertently admitting the inherent weakness in the official certification to allow distribution of hazardous cooking oils. (KL)



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