Wed, Sep 10, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Chang Guann fined NT$50m over oil

‘VILE CRIMINAL ACT’:Fourteen more products were found to contain the tainted oil, bringing the total to 222. Eight were from a supplier to convenience store FamilyMart

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

A Taipei City Government official inspects boxes of instant noodles at a supermarket yesterday amid a tainted edible lard oil scandal.

The Greater Kaohsiung Government Department of Health yesterday fined edible oil manufacturer Chang Guann Co (強冠企業) NT$50 million (US$1.67 million) over its peddling of lard oil tainted with recycled waste oil.

The fine is the highest that can be imposed on violators of Article 15-1 of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法), which prohibits the manufacturing, processing and selling of foods or food additives that have deteriorated or gone rotten.

The department has also referred company chairman Yeh Wen-hsiang (葉文祥), to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office for investigation.

As of 2pm yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had identified 1,256 companies that bought a total of 782 tonnes of “Fragrant Lard Oil” manufactured by Chang Guann between March 1 and last month made with recycled waste oil provided by the owner of a Pingtung-based unlicensed factory, Kuo Lieh-cheng (郭烈成).

Kuo allegedly obtained waste oil recycled from restaurant fryers from waste recycler Hu Hsin-te (胡信德), whose factory, named Shun Te Enterprise (順德企業行), in Greater Kaohsiung’s Daliao District (大寮) was shut down yesterday by the local government’s Economic Development Bureau after it was found to be unregistered.

Fourteen more food products were drawn into the oil scandal yesterday, bringing the number of types of products contaminated with the tainted lard to 222.

Among them, eight were from Greater Kaohsiung-based Ching Hsin Fresh Food Factory (晉欣鮮食廠), which provides foodstuffs to the 450 southern branches of Taiwan FamilyMart Co (全家便利商店), Taiwan’s second-largest convenience store chain.

FDA Northern Center for Regional Administration Director Feng Jun-lan (馮潤蘭) said nearly 99 percent of the 222 types of tainted food products have been pulled off the shelves and sealed, weighing 228 tonnes in total.

“They are to be destroyed by health departments nationwide in the near future,” Feng said, adding that her agency was still tracing the whereabouts of about 79 of the 782 tonnes of tainted lard oil.

Separately yesterday, Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) described Chang Guann’s selling of substandard lard oil as a “vile criminal act” and demanded the severest penalties for the perpetrators.

Mao was quoted by Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) after the first meeting of an inter-ministerial task force established on Friday last week to deal with the tainted lard scandal.

At a press conference after the meeting, Sun said the fact that the tainted lard oil had been mixed with something not meant for human consumption was enough to make it an illegal product, regardless of whether it met legal standards, as recent FDA test results found.

Health and Welfare Vice Minister Hsu Ming-neng (許銘能) said the FDA only tested samples of the questionable oil for substances for which the government has set a maximum permissible level, such as heavy metals.

“The ministry is to discuss with experts in the area other kinds of substances that should also be tested for in the future,” Hsu said.

Mao also quoted representatives from the Ministry of Justice as saying at the meeting that investigators were checking into the bank accounts belonging to the companies and individuals involved in the case to ensure that all their illegal gains were confiscated.

As for other ministries’ handling of the oil scandal, Mao said that the Council of Agriculture on Friday instructed the Pingtung County Department of Agriculture to seal and run tests on the oil produced by animal feed manufacturer Ching Wei Co (進威), which was allegedly made with waste oil procured from Kuo.

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