Sat, Jul 11, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taipei conducts second round of cooking oil tests

UNHEALTHY The deputy director of the Bureau of Food Safety said a person would have to consume nothing but oil to be in danger from arsenic in it

By Mo Yan-Chih and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Taipei City Government yesterday conducted a second round of surprise tests on cooking oils at fast food chains.

When the city’s Department of Health conducted arsenic tests at 130 fast food stores last month, eight stores failed the test.

Doughnut chain Mister Donut’s branch at New York New York Department Store failed a second test yesterday and was ordered to change its oil immediately.

Lin Chin-fu (林金富), director of the department’s food and drug division, said it would submit the results for more thorough analysis and that the branch would face a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000 should yesterday’s results be confirmed.

The tests came after consumers said many fast food restaurants used the same oil for more than a week, which can lead to the build-up of carcinogens.

A McDonald’s in Tucheng and a Domino’s in Yonghe tested positive on Monday for arsenic in their frying oil.

Lin said the department would expand the scope of the tests to department stores, supermarkets and night markets. The department plans to complete tests for more than 200 vendors and food stalls in the city by the end of this month.

More thorough testing will follow for street vendors if many fail the first-phase inspection, he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health said yesterday that no arsenic was detected in 10 oil samples from five fast food restaurants that it tested.

Hsieh Ting-hung (謝定宏), deputy director of the department’s Bureau of Food Safety, said that the five restaurants turned in five samples each of new and used oil for testing. All were negative.

Hsieh said there was no danger from arsenic unless a person ingests more than 3 parts per million (ppm).

“To ingest 3ppm, you would need to drink oil and eat nothing else the whole day,” Hsieh said.

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