Officials test oils in Taipei restaurants

VIGILANCE::Taipei’s mayor said the city will continue inspecting edible oil in restaurants, adding that people who report illegal additives used in oils will be rewarded

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Oct 23, 2013 - Page 3

The Taipei City Government yesterday launched a series of inspections on edible oils at restaurants around the city following a food scare involving edible oils containing illegal additives or other mixtures, and said it will reward people who reported problematic edible oils to government officials.

Inspectors from Taipei’s Department of Health inspected restaurants and fast food chains at Eslite Bookstore and Hankyu Department Store outlets, testing the total polar material (TPM) in the oils, which is an indicator of the quality of frying fats.

Tests showed that the oils used in McDonalds, TKK Fried Chicken, a Japanese restaurant and a Korean BBQ restaurant had TCM levels within the normal range of 25 percent.

None of the restaurants used oils produced by problematic oil manufacturer Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday joined the inspection team checking the oil in the restaurants.

He said the city will continue to conduct inspections on edible oil used in restaurants around the city and will raise the reward for people who report illegal additive use in oils with from 5 percent to 10 percent of the fine given to the oil’s manufacturer.

“Both the government and oil manufacturers are responsible for food safety. We encourage customers or employees at oil factories to report any problematic edible oils,” Hau said.

The city government is to examine the ingredients of edible oils of a variety of brands, Hau said, adding that people can bring edible oils to the department for testing.

Following the recent food scare over products made by Chang Chi, which were found to contian illegal additives, the Ministry of Justice has inventoried and frozen the company manager’s financial assets and will punish the company if it is found to be involved in illegal profiteering.

Food and Drug Division Director Chiu Hsiu-yi (邱秀儀) said the penalty for violating the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) is between NT$60,000 and NT$15 million (between US$2,050 and US$510,000), Chiu added that the increase in the reward for people who report problematic oils will take effect after the department formally approves the regulation.

The city has ensured that none of the more than 140 schools in Taipei use oils produced by Chang Chi, Chiu said.

However, seven middle schools used oils from Flavor Full Foods, another oil manufacturer whose oil products allegedly contain illegal additives.

Those schools have been advised to change oil brands, she said.