Banned coloring agent sourced to two importers

TAINTED OIL SCARE::Toong Yeuan Enterprise and L. Seatex Co are facing fines for misrepresenting imports of copper chorophyllin they supplied to edible oil makers

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Nov 11, 2013 - Page 3

A coloring agent used by Formosa Oilseed Processing Co (FOPCO) in its edible oil products is sourced from two domestic importers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Saturday.

L. Seatex Co, a Taipei-based food flavor supplier, and food ingredient supplier Toong Yeuan Enterprise Co have supplied the coloring agent — copper chlorophyllin — to FOPCO, the Taipei City Government’s Department of Health said.

Copper chlorophyllin is banned from use in edible oil products. An FDA official said the two companies imported sodium copper chlorophyllin, but did not truthfully declare the nature of the ingredient.

Toong Yeuan declared its imports as chlorophyll, a coloring agent. However, the company’s imports were actually sodium copper chlorophyllin or copper chlorophyllin, the official said. Toong Yeuan could face fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$3 million (US$1,020 and US$102,000) for false declaration of the imported ingredient, the official said.

L. Seatex Co had stated it was importing copper chlorophyllin for research and development, but did not declare it and did not have it tested.

Namchow Chemical Industrial Co, a leading producer and distributor of edible oil products, detergents, frozen food and cooked rice, said it had recalled one type of dry noodle product and seven types of ice cream and popsicles products containing sodium copper chlorophyllin, even though the water-soluble ingredient is allowed to be added to ice cream.

The food company said that it found early last month that it had used sodium copper chlorophyllin in one of its noodle products and then replaced it with a different natural colorant.

New products were returned to store shelves late last month, the company added.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Wednesday last week that five foodstuff producers have been supplied with copper clorophyllin and sodium copper clorophyllin by two importers — beverage manufacturer Taiwan Bifido Co and Taipei-based Chin Haoo Trading Co.