Taiwan Food Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Development Association officials yesterday apologized to the public on behalf of a number of GMP-certified companies that have been implicated in the edible lard oil scandal, pledging to tighten up the certification system’s regulations on ingredients at the source.
“The main cause of the substandard lard oil scare is inadequate management of the sources of food ingredients, which is why the association has decided to include a set of regulations governing raw materials into the GMP system as part of our effort to revamp the program,” director-general Bonnie Sun (孫寶年) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday afternoon.
Another major change to be introduced on Jan. 1 next year is that all a manufacturer’s products that are classified into one category will have to be certified as a whole, rather than individually, or selectively as allowed at present, Sun said.
“For example, if a company wants to have just one of its oil products certified, it will not be able to do so under the new certification process because all its oil items will have to be certified as meeting GMP standards,” Sun said.
Public confidence in the GMP system has plummeted because 12 products manufactured by Greater Kaohsiung-based edible oil manufacturer Chang Guann Co (強冠企業), which is at the center of the current food scandal, had obtained GMP certification.
Chang Guann’s 12 GMP certifications were revoked by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau on Friday, one day after the company was found to have used recycled waste oil collected from restaurant fryers in the production of its “fragrant lard oil” (全統香豬油), a non-GMP-certified product.
The bureau is the regulatory overseer of the GMP program.
Five food companies were subsequently found to have manufactured 14 of their GMP-certified products with Chang Guann’s substandard lard oil.
Sun said the public’s strong confidence in laboratory tests and the GMP certification system were the main reasons many food manufacturers had bought Chang Guann’s fragrant lard oil without checking the status of the firms that supplied its raw materials.
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