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Taiwan urged to adopt better food safety mechanisms

2013/10/23 10:43:04

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) Taiwan should have better controls and penalties and should adopt international standards to assure food safety, Mirko Kruppa, deputy director-general of the German Institute Taipei, said Monday in response to the latest food scare in Taiwan.

A more comprehensive control mechanism can push food makers to be more careful, Kruppa told CNA, when asked about his opinion on the recent cooking oil scandal.

Prosecutors and health officials raided a local edible oil factory Oct. 16 after receiving information that the company's oil products are not as advertised.

The company is believed to have added cheaper oils and copper chlorophyllin -- a coloring agent barred from use in cooking oils in Taiwan -- to its oil products and might have also misrepresented several of its products.

The scandal also involves cooking oil labeled as originating from Europe but which actually contains locally produced inferior oil.

Kruppa said there is no 100 percent food safety, but he advised the government to focus more on control work at home than using administrative manpower on "over-investigations" into foreign food imports.

As a member of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Taiwan could for example just apply disease-free status on food safety issues as the EU does, said Kruppa.

"By not allowing good food by OIE standards coming in, you might have less good food being served to the Taiwanese," he said.

If Taiwan would better adopt these standards, it could free its food officials to look into other food safety issues and this could lead to quicker discoveries of tainted food products, Kruppa said.

"Don't waste energy and time on Taiwan-only standards if you can use this energy and manpower on the other fronts that are there," he advised.

(By James Lee and Christie Chen)