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Manufacturers urged to be alert about food sources

2014/09/05 22:29:26

Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) Taiwan's Economics Minister Duh Tyzz-jiun on Friday urged Taiwanese food companies to increase their level of alert when obtaining materials for their products, and to make on-site inspections at their suppliers' production facilities, as Taiwan is dealing with a food scandal involving the use of recycled oil.

The fact that at least 235 domestic food companies and restaurants have used Chuan Tung, a brand of questionable lard-based oil made with recycled kitchen waste in the scandal, has shown that food makers are not careful enough about the quality of the material they use, Duh told CNA in an interview.

"There have been so many similar incidents before, and the (affected) companies remain late to catch on the practice of on-site checks," Duh said.

One of the incidents Duh was referring to was a food scare concerning adulterated oils last year.

Chang Chi, the producer of the popular Tatung brand of cooking oils, was found to have mixed premium olive and grapeseed oils with less expensive cottonseed oil and sold them as 100 percent pure products.

Duh said there is indeed room for improvement as he responded to the public's doubts on the ministry's problematic Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) system, as three products revoked by food companies this time are certified with GMP.

The government is in the process of revamping the GMP certification system, a move aimed at recapturing consumer confidence in the government's certifications, he said.

However, Duh said a stricter system, which will require on-site inspections at food factories to make sure food processing there conforms to what has been declared, will not be available until next April.

That's because after the plan for a system overhaul was announced in April this year, manufacturers whose products already have GMP certification were given a one-year grace period to improve their production process to meet the new standards.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Lee Hsin-Yin)