The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday that it will review its regulations for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification and examine all GMP-labeled products within three months after edible oils with the certificate were found to contain illegal additives.
“We will review the rules for GMP certification within a month and a half, and we will examine all 3,682 GMP products within three months,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Francis Liang (梁國新) said at a meeting at the legislature’s Economic Committee in Taipei.
Liang said the 3,682 products include 129 oil products as well as 376 juice and soy sauce-related goods.
Legislators yesterday panned the ministry for lax supervision of the government-funded private organization that issues GMP certificates. They also urged the ministry to remove Wei Ying-chun (魏應充), chairman of Wei Chuan Food Corp (味全) and one of the founders of Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團), from his position as chairman of the organization because Ting Hsin was found to have used adulterated oil in products it made for Wei Chuan, a local brand-name food company.
Liang said the chairman of the organization was appointed by its members, who are company representatives, but the ministry would make the necessary changes after further investigation.
Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), who also participated in the committee yesterday, said it is crucial for the ministry to address consumer doubts.
“We have to control the quality of food products immediately, otherwise we will not be able to restore people’s confidence, which will affect private consumption,” he said.
Even so, Kuan said he is confident that the nation will post 2 percent economic growth this year if the government can begin implementation of its “free economic pilot zones” plan.
However, legislators are concerned that the pilot zones could hurt the local agricultural sector, as the plan allows companies to purchase agricultural materials from China and overseas to be processed in the zones.
“There might be fewer companies willing to buy agricultural materials from Taiwanese farmers,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said.
Although 830 agricultural products from China are prohibited from entering Taiwan, companies can still use Chinese produce as raw materials in the zones and sell the processed end products to the local market providing these products are not on the list of 830 items, DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.