Fri, Jul 10, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Health bureau tightens inspections of fast food oil

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday it would ask fast food restaurants to change their cooking oil immediately if they fail on-the-spot tests for acid value.

“We have requested that our local bureaus increase the number of inspections of fast food restaurants,” Hsu Ching-hsin (許景鑫), spokesman for the Food Safety Bureau, said after a DOH meeting yesterday morning.

“Instead of granting them a grace period, inspectors will ask fast-food-chain operators to change the oil immediately if it fails a test,” he said.

Hsu said that the Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis was conducting a second arsenic test for McDonald’s and Domino’s after the two restaurants insisted that their own tests differed from that of the Taipei County Bureau of Health, which said their oil tested positive for arsenic.

The DOH said last night that results of its second test were negative.

Hsu said that the DOH had requested all local health bureaus to submit spare samples to the Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis for separate testing after inspecting fast food restaurants.

He said that the Taipei County Bureau of Health had inspected 10 fast food restaurants, including McDonald’s, MOS Burger, Domino’s and Burger King, again on Wednesday.

Spare samples from the 10 restaurants were submitted to the Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis, he said.

“Testing the oil for arsenic content was the primary goal,” Hsu said.

“We want to make sure that everything meets health standards,” he said.

He said the DOH was discussing new regulations on arsenic because current regulations only cover “new oil” and do not include “used oil.”

He said that inspectors from local health bureaus had launched large-scale random inspections of restaurants and food stalls that sell fried food.

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