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Taiwan urged to speed up controls on waste edible oil

2014/09/11 20:50:03

Environmental Protection Minister Wei Kuo-yen (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Sept. 11 (CNA) Environmental Protection Minister Wei Kuo-yen on Thursday called for quick legislative approval of a draft bill to control waste edible oil, in light of a recent food safety issue related to recycled oil.

Wei said at a press conference that the current Waste Disposal Act gives the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) access to the sources but not the flow of waste cooking oil.

He said he hopes the Legislative Yuan will act speedily to pass an EPA draft bill on resource conservation and recovery, which will help the agency to track the flow of waste from production to recycling.

Waste oil is not included in the Waste Disposal Act because it is used in the private sector and is considered a product that has value, Wei said.

According to reports submitted to the EPA, large local food companies account for about 50 percent of the total waste edible oil in Taiwan per year, Wei said.

However, small food vendors, who account for the remaining 20,000 to 30,000 tons, are not required to report their waste oil volumes to the EPA, Wei said.

As part of its efforts to introduce greater oversight on the issue, Wei said, the EPA on Friday will host a meeting of local environmental protection authorities and will put forth measures within a month to control the flow of waste edible oil from small food vendors.

The minister was responding to the latest food safety issue, in which Kaohsiung-based Chang Guann Co. was found to be buying oil extracted from putrid kitchen waste and other substandard ingredients to produce lard-based oil for sale downstream to over 1,000 food companies and restaurants around Taiwan.

The problematic oil was purchased from an unlicensed operator, Kuo Lieh-cheng, who was running an underground facility in southern Taiwan's Pingtung County. Kuo was arrested last week.

(By Tseng Ing-yu, Hsu Chih-wei and Jeffrey Wu)