Thu, Nov 06, 2014 - Page 3 News List

FDA defends delay in tainted oil dioxin tests

BEEI HAE OIL:A total of 111 firms have purchased the firm’s six recalled lard products, with the finished goods being sold to well-known restaurants like Wang Steak

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday again defended its much-criticized delay in sending samples of Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co’s (頂新製油) cooking oils for dioxin screening tests, saying that the laboratory it works with was booked up for the next two months.

FDA Division of Research and Analysis Deputy Director Chou Hsiu-kuan (周秀冠) said the agency first sent the 12 samples of Ting Hsin Oil’s lard, beef tallow and coconut oils delivered by the Changhua District Prosecutors’ Office on Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 for testing for heavy metals, acid value and benzo[a]pyrene.

“The tests took more than 10 days to process and the results showed that Ting Hsin’s lard and beef tallow imported from Vietnam contained excessive levels of lead and copper, which we presumed could be the result of the unhygienic environment at the company’s cooking oil factory or because the oils were rendered from sick cows and pigs,” Chou said.

Chou said that because Greater Tainan prosecutors had recommended that the FDA also test the oil samples for dioxin residues, it subsequently delivered the specimens to a special laboratory at National Cheng Kung University on Monday and Tuesday respectively and had them screened for 29 kinds of dioxin.

FDA interim Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) said that the laboratory was booked up for the next two months and the agency only managed to “cut in line” and shorten the waiting period to just two weeks after some negotiations.

Local media reports said that Tainan prosecutors recommended the dioxin tests after receiving an anonymous tipoff from a Vietnam-based Taiwanese businessman, who claimed that the oils Ting Hsin Oil had imported from Dai Hanh Phuc Co (大幸福公司) were contaminated with ingredients of Agent Orange.

In related developments, the FDA yesterday released a list of 38 finished food items from 14 companies containing six Beei Hae Oil and Fats Co (北海油脂) lard-based products that may have been mixed with animal feed-grade oil.

They included Lee Tah Farm Industries Co’s (立大農畜興業) frozen chicken nuggets, hamburger meat and fried salty short ribs.

The Greater Tainan Department of Health said that a total of 111 firms nationwide have purchased Beei Hae’s six recalled lard products.

Eight of them are in Greater Taichung. Those companies sold items made from the potentially problematic oils to several well-known restaurants, such as hot pot chain Tripod King (鼎王麻辣鍋) and steak chain Wang Steak (王品台塑牛排).

Additional reporting by CNA

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