Sat, Oct 11, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Ting Hsin accused of using oil meant for animal feed

MORE TROUBLE?Former minister of health and welfare Chiu Wen-ta said that there were two more companies under suspicion, and the FDA later revealed their names

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said that Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co (頂新製油實業), a subsidiary of Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團), allegedly used animal feed oil in the production of its cooking lard products.

“The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hanoi notified us on Thursday that the cooking lard oil Ting Hsin Oil and Fat had imported from Vietnam-based oil manufacturer Dai Hanh Phuc Co last year and this year was actually meant for animal feed,” FDA interim Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) told a press conference late yesterday.

Chiang said the FDA made the discovery after trying to ascertain the sources of the nation’s imported cooking lard oil, most of which comes from Hong Kong, Spain, Vietnam and Japan.

The FDA has temporarily suspended a Ting Hsin Oil and Fat factory in Pingtung County, where two sumps containing a total of 358 tonnes of lard have been sealed as a precaution, Chiang said.

Chiang said a ban has also been imposed on imports of butter and lard from Vietnam, while other cooking oil products imported from the Southeast Asian country have been subjected to batch-by-batch inspections starting yesterday.

“The FDA will reconfirm with the office regarding the nature of the oil imported from the Vietnamese firm and investigate whether Ting Hsin Oil and Fat have mixed animal feed oil in its lard products,” Chiang said.

Earlier yesterday, former minister of health and welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said in an interview published yesterday that there are two more companies in addition to Cheng I Food Co (正義股份) — also a subsidiary of Ting Hsin International — that have purchased suspicious amounts of animal feed oil.

However, the information has not been made public, Chiu said.

Chiu, who resigned on Oct. 3 over a recycled waste oil scandal involving manufacturer Chang Guann Co (強冠企業) last month, made the allegations in an interview with the Chinese-language CommonWealth Magazine.

He said that besides Ting Hsin, another conglomerate has been engulfed in multiple food scandals since the 2011 plasticizer food scare, but has yet to be caught.

When questioned at a press conference yesterday morning, FDA Northern Center for Regional Administration director Feng Jun-lan (馮潤蘭) said the agency could not comment because it has not obtained evidence for the claim.

However, Chiang held another press conference hours later announcing that the two companies were Chiayi County’s Yung Cheng Oil Co (永成油脂) and Hsu Jih Yu Trading Co (旭日友商行).

“On Sept. 18, the FDA referred six of Cheng I Food’s upstream suppliers to investigative authorities due to suspicious discrepancies between the accounts of their business dealings with Cheng I Food,” Chiang said. “Yung Cheng Oil and Hsu Jih Yu were on the second list of suspicious suppliers to Cheng I Food. We ordered investigations into the two firms on Sept. 30.”

Chiang said that preliminary investigations have only discovered that Yung Cheng peddled a total of 1,600 tonnes of lard to Cheng I Food via Hsu Jih Yu this year, and it has yet to be determined whether any irregularities are involved.

As for the identity of the “unscrupulous large corporation,” Chiang said she had no knowledge of the issue and would double check with Chiu — whom she said is on a “mind-emptying trip” abroad — to find out what he meant.

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