I-Mei Foods Co — seen as one of the few highly trusted food producers left in the nation — has criticized the government’s measures to manage the recycling of waste cooking oil, saying that focusing on waste collectors is moving “in the wrong direction.”
I-Mei general manager Kao Chih-ming (高志明) said in a statement that the company recently posted on Facebook that the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has embraced “the wrong recycling management strategies.”
The outspoken head of one of the few companies to largely escape the recent spate of food safety scares said the EPA has focused on the wrong issue by choosing to crack down on individuals who collect waste oil for recycling by demanding licenses and a tracking system based on QR codes.
“Giving up management and control measures that involve economic incentives will eventually cause policies to fail,” Kao said, suggesting that the only way to make sure that no more waste cooking oil finds its way into the food oil supply chain is to order the state-run petroleum refiner, CPC Corp, Taiwan, to buy an unlimited amount of recycled waste cooking oil.
I-Mei has earned consumers’ trust during the turbulence in the food manufacturing industry because of its stringency in checking the safety of food material sources and an enterprise slogan of: “We produce, we take responsibility,” Kao said.
The procurement price must be set between NT$10 and NT$12 per kilogram to give waste oil collectors a reason to sell their oil to the government-run system and ensure the recycling is airtight, Kao said.
Doing so would remove the need to “intimidate innocent, helpless and powerless micro-vendors and small restaurants,” he said, adding that before any procurement policy is set, it is wrong to introduce harsh measures against them, calling it “a pity” that local governments have followed what he considers the wrong strategy.
Asked about the proposal, CPC Corp said “it is not [our] duty to recycle waste cooking oil” and the company should not be saddled with the responsibility just because it has a facility capable of transforming waste into renewable materials for industrial use.
The Bureau of Energy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs dismissed Kao’s proposal as not feasible, and said that CPC is only a user of waste cooking oil.
“We fear that CPC has only limited capacity if we ask them to buy all waste cooking oil,” the bureau said.
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