Sat, Sep 20, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Legislator calls oil safe, chides companies

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉) yesterday said that oil refined from waste products could be safely consumed if legal standards were followed in its manufacture.

“The problem lies not with the [refinery] technology, but with the conscience,” he added.

Su, a physician and director-general of the Taiwan Medical Association, said on the legislative floor yesterday that food-grade oil made from recycled products, since it passes health authorities’ standards, “should be edible.”

While delivering a short speech calling for the establishment of a “food safety network,” Su said that, as could be seen from recent food scandals, “factory hardware and the refinery technologies are not a problem: From plasticizers and clouding agents through adulterated oil to recycled and tainted oil, all of them have passed the end tests for acid value, [benzo(a)pyrene] and heavy metals, among others.”

“Many people have asked me whether the [questionable] oil is edible; I told them it should be, if it complied with standards,” the legislator said. “Even with the oil said to be refined from fat discarded by leather factories, the tests for heavy metals such as cadmium did not find anything substandard.”

“So the problem lies not with the technology, but with people’s conscience and morality. There are no black-hearted products, but only black-hearted manufacturers,” he said, calling on Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and the Cabinet to tackle the issue through morality education.

However, he also underlined the importance of a “food safety network” established by the government and including representatives from businesses and the public, who respectively should assume the tasks of supervision, source-tracking and informing in order to stamp out malpractice among food companies.

While lauding Jiang’s eight measures to increase food oversight announced on Wednesday, Su said that at least two points need be further augmented.

“The recycling of waste oil should be strictly regulated and monitored, and the Good Manufacturing Practice and Good Handling Practices certifications should be modified, rather than abolished. Changes could include revisions to the current rules on the composition of the evaluation committee and to the evaluation criteria,” Su said.

He then extolled the “swift response” to the scandal by the Cabinet and Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta’s (邱文達) team.

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