Prosecutors yesterday raided the Greater Taichung branch of Spanish trading company Vidoria S.L., which supplied grapeseed oil to Taiwan’s Taisun Enterprise Co and Fwusow Industry Co.
Prosecutors were unwilling to disclose more details on the raid.
Both Taisun and Fwusow have said they only repackage oil imported from abroad and have not added any ingredients to or otherwise altered the products.
On Wednesday, health officials seized grapeseed oil from both companies during inspections of their factories in central Taiwan.
Prosecutors discovered that in addition to buying grapeseed oil from Vidoria, Fwusow had also purchased oil from Taiwan’s Uni-President Enterprise Corp.
Uni-President released a statement yesterday saying that it has not sold grapeseed oil from Spain to Fwusow for the past two years, adding that it stopped marketing that type of oil in December 2011 and has not imported any since.
Uni-President’s last shipment of Spanish grapeseed oil was imported in April 2011 and bore a “food health certificate” issued by the Spanish government, the company added.
So far, six businesses have been identified as distributors of olive and grapeseed oils containing copper cholorophyllin — a food colorant that is legal, but only in certain categories of food — and have been asked by the authorities to recall their products.
The latest addition to the list of items recalled for containing the coloring agent is a seaweed-flavored waffle produced by Kuai Kuai Co.
On Wednesday, the Chinese-language Next Magazine published a study suggesting that the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan had notified the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Foreign Trade as early as 2009 about oil products it suspected may have been mixed with inferior oils or illicit substances.
The chamber has since issued a statement saying that the study “was not the official position of our office.”
The study was written by a trainee at the chamber in 2009 with the purpose of analyzing possible cases of misleading labels on olive oil products in Taiwan, it said.
“Therefore, the intention of the study was not to prove illegal practices according the existing legislations,” the chamber added.
Additional reporitng by Shih Hsiu-chuan