The Philippine authorities have told businesses to pull questionable Taiwanese food products off store shelves and said the country would accelerate signing a memorandum on cooperation with Taiwan to strengthen food safety checks.
Amid the recycled lard oil scandal in Taiwan, Kenneth Hartigan-Go, acting director of the Philippines Food and Drug Administration, said that despite insufficient manpower, his agency is still checking whether food products using the questionable oil have made their way into the Philippines.
Hartigan-Go said his agency is asking Taiwan to provide a list of food products using the questionable oil.
If they are found to be for sale in the Philippines, they will be destroyed, he said. However, he said importers and retailers would not be punished because “they are also victims.”
He said his agency is talking with its Taiwanese counterpart to sign the memorandum on cooperation, which would allow the parties to exchange several technologies and set up a bilateral warning mechanism.
He said that after the signing of the memorandum, the two sides would be able to more effectively check food safety. However, he also said that Taiwan’s recycled oil case is only an isolated incident and that the majority of Taiwan’s food is of high quality.
Compared with food imports from Japan, South Korea, Europe and the US, imports from Taiwan are relatively small and most Filipinos have not even heard about the incident.
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