Fri, Oct 17, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Duqing tainted King Car goods: CDC

PARTY CRASHERDPP Legislator Twu Shiing-jer, a former DOH minister, showed up at the conference to criticize the government’s handling of the melamine scandal

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

China’s Duqing Company, King Car Industrial Co’s supplier of non-dairy creamer, “is definitely accountable” for the high-level melamine content in King Car’s 3-in-1 drink packages, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

The CDC also said that investigations were ongoing as to why the samples that Duqing had sent to Chinese authorities were melamine-free.

CDC Director Steve Kuo (郭旭崧) made the remarks at the International Experts Conference on Control of Melamine Presence in Foods that was hosted by the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday in Taipei. It was attended by domestic experts as well as experts from Belgium, Australia, New Zealand and France.

“The non-dairy creamer that King Car used contained high levels of melamine … Further clarification is needed to see why the creamer Duqing sent to Chinese authorities had undetectable melamine levels,” Kuo said.

King Car on Sept. 21 recalled all 120,000 cases of the product after tests showed that products using powdered non-dairy creamer from China contained the toxic chemical melamine.

The product in question is Duqing’s non-dairy creamer type K33A, which contains ingredients such as corn syrup, vegetable oil, and sodium caseinate, a dairy derivative, Kuo said.

Kuo said that a document was found to stating that prior to April 14 this year, the sodium caseinate used in K33A was from a German company, whereas after that date, the source was from China and derived from yak milk.

Although Duqing denies that the yak milk may be the root of the problem, the issue may warrant investigation, Kuo said.

Kuo said that there were other possible sources for the contamination, and that the cause of the problem is now under investigation.

However, Duqing said that as their non-dairy creamer had an undetectable amount of melamine in an analysis conducted by Chinese authorities, the company would send a team to Taiwan to see if King Car’s tainted products may have had other contaminants.

A DOH official said the company’s representatives have already arrived in Taiwan and are now comparing analysis methods as well as the product batch number for their samples with those from King Car.

“There had been cases before where two analysis institutions would give different results on a test — the sample may not be well mixed, or the batch number of the products tested may be different,” he said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲), who crashed the invite-only conference, launched a volley of criticism.

“Would the DOH thoroughly investigate China’s products, or would they allow political manipulation to determine their analysis results? How can Duqing come to investigate in Taiwan?” Twu asked.

“This is demeaning to Taiwan and lowers our national dignity; I expect them to say after the investigation that there were ‘misunderstandings,’” the lawmaker said.

Twu, a former health minister, said he had gone in the conference “as a legislator to pay concern [to the issue.]”

“I’m here to supervise … Have the DOH forgotten that I’m an expert? I’m the former minister and should therefore sit in on the session,” Twu said.

What Taiwanese are most concerned about is the government’s stance on guarding food safety in products imported from China, he said.

Twu also raised concerns that the experts invited to the conference were mostly from the EU, or were milk exporters.

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