Thu, Nov 21, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Ministry apologizes for faulty essential oil tests

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday apologized for its misuse of standards applied in examining local firms’ essential oil products, after a report issued earlier this month negatively affected companies’ reputations and sales.

“We made a mistake and apologize to the affected companies,” Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection director-general Chen Jay-san (陳介山) told reporters on the sidelines of the legislature’s Economics Committee meeting.

The bureau on Nov. 8 said its tests showed that only two out of 15 rose, rosemary and red cypress essential oil products were made from the ingredients indicated on their packages.

However, on Tuesday the bureau admitted that it had mistakenly used Chinese-made cedarwood oil to examine the quality of locally made red cypress essential oil, amid protests by local suppliers over the bureau’s test results.

NO STANDARD

Chen said the improper comparison was made because no standard has been set by the International Organization for Standardization to test Taiwan-made red cypress essential oil products.

He said the bureau had removed a link to the report on its Web site and sent letters to the affected companies to offer its apology.

Companies can apply for compensation, he added.

Companies that were named as producers of the mislabeled products include Hinoking (德麗興業社), Yuan Workshop Co (阿原工作室) and Just Herb Enterprise Co (香草集), the bureau said.

A Yuan Workshop spokesperson yesterday said on condition of anonymity that the company had lost a total of NT$1 million (US$33,970) in sales over the past two weeks.

“While we won’t rule out applying for compensation, we urge the bureau to avoid repeating such mistakes and establish a standard soon,” the spokesperson said.

CO-OPERATION

The bureau plans to work with the Council of Agriculture, National Taiwan University and National Chung Hsing University to come up with a standard that can test the quality of Taiwan-made red cypress essential oil products next month, Chen said.

Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) yesterday said the bureau should not issue reports that misinform consumers.

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