Workers at Formosa Oilseed factory in Taichong empty the recalled oil products into a container. The oil will be used to make biodiesel, Nov. 6. (Photo/Huang Kuo-fong)
Xiamen has ordered 40,000 liters of cooking oil made by Taiwan's Tatung Changchi Foodstuff to be removed from shelves and stepped up inspections on edible oil products imported from Taiwan after Formosa Oilseed Processing and Wei Chuan Food Corp were also found to be involved in an adulterated cooking oil scandal, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.
The recall was announced after Taiwanese company Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory was found to be fraudulently blending inferior oil with its supposedly 100% pure cooking oil in mid-October and using the banned coloring agent chlorophyllin to make cheaper oil look like genuine olive oil.
The Taiwanese health authority has published a list of cooking oil products that were found to contain the chlorophyllin, had failed to label ingredients correctly or meet national fatty acid standards, or that had been made with Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory's adulterated oil products.
Around 7,500 liters of two Formosa Oilseed Processing's products and 1,200 liters of three Wei Chuan Food Corp's products named on the list had been imported to the city, according to Wei Chuan and the Xiamen Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.
The Formosa Oilseed Processing's products were imported to a small trade market in Xiamen's Dadeng islands in January and February and Wei Chuan's products were shipped there in April. All of them have now sold out. Wei Chuan said it sells around NT$600,000 (US$20,300) of oil to China per month.
A Taiwanese cafe and restaurant owner doing business on the island said that most of the Taiwanese businesses did not use imported Taiwanese oils because that would increase their costs dramatically. Taiwan-made oil products are also rare in Xiamen where most imported oils sold in the local Carrefour and Walmart stores come from Europe, another Taiwanese businessman said.
A Chinese internet user said Taiwan's food safety record is now as bad as China's but a student studying at Xiaman University's tourism and hospitality department said she remains confident about Taiwan's foods since China's notorious "gutter oil" — waste food oil and foodstuffs illegally recycled and resold — would never be found in Taiwan.
Many Taiwanese bakery and restaurant businesses in Shanghai were concerned that the cooking oil scandal might reduce confidence in the quality of Taiwanese foods. One bakery owner said Ting Hsin International Group — who was found to be falsely marketing and producing adulterated oils, literally scammed people's money by selling cheap oils as premium goods. Another said the if the scandal continues to escalate, mainland food authorities may intervene and affect the imports, exports and examination procedures for Taiwanese food.
The scandal has done irrevocable damage to Taiwanese brands, said a Taiwanese entrepreneur running a restaurant chain in Shanghai. Chinese media and internet users have learned about it and will use this against Taiwanese companies in brand competition in the future, the businessman said.
Formosa Oilseed Processing 福懋
Wei Chuan Food Corp 味全
Ting Hsin International Group 頂新集團
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