More than 200 Taiwanese companies used tainted oil in their products, watchdog reveals

At least 230 food manufacturers used the oil from Cheng I which had been adulterated with animal feed oil as food scandal continues to grow

More than 200 food manufacturing companies in Taiwan have used tainted cooking oil in their products as the food scandal continues to spread, authorities on the island said yesterday.

Chiang Yu-mei, acting director-general of the Food and Drug Administration, said authorities have ordered that 68 oil products supplied by Cheng I Food be removed from shelves after they were found to have been adulterated with animal feed oil.

“According to our estimate, at least 230 downstream food manufacturing companies were found to have bought the tainted oil from Cheng I between February 25 and October 8 to produce a number of food items,” she told legislators on Thursday.

She said the authorities were still checking the exact number and the types of food items produced by these companies.

Chiang said of the 68 oil products supplied by Cheng I – including Wei-Lih sesame oil, Wei-Lih lard oil and Cheng I lard oil – which had teen taken off the shelves, 31 had been removed as a precautionary measure as the authorities had yet to determine whether their production lines were tainted.

The scandal was exposed on Wednesday after prosecutors detained a former executive of Cheng I, identified as Wu Jung-he, who formed a one-man company several years ago and allegedly sold animal feed oil, which he passed off as edible lard, to Cheng I.

On Wednesday Cheng I apologised to the public for the latest food scare, but claimed it was also a victim in the case as it had no idea the lard it brought from Wu was in fact for animal feed.

The latest scandal came barely a month after a Kaohsiung-based major lard oil supplier, Chang Guann, was found to have blended wasted lard oil – meant for industrial use – with fresh oil to produce 780 tonnes of lard oil for human consumption.

Cheng I Food is owned by Ting Hsin International Group – the parent company of Taiwanese food giant Wei-Chuan which has admitted that 12 types of its dried meat floss and meat paste were made using “gutter oil” bought from cooking oil company Chang Guann. The products were removed from shelves.

The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party on Thursday demanded that Premier Jiang Yi-huah step down for assuring late last month that all oil products being marketed were safe to consume after the government said it had tackled of the Chang Guann oil scandal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 October, 2014, 6:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 October, 2014, 9:35pm