TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Department of Health, Kaohsiung City Government (DOH) stated yesterday that it will impose a NT$50 million fine on Chang Guann Co. Ltd. (強冠公司) over its use of low-quality materials to produce its products, thus causing a potential food safety crisis.
Ho Chi-kung (何啟功), director-general of the DOH, pointed out that Chang Guann bought about 240 tons of raw materials made from so-called gutter oil from illegal supplier Kuo Lieh-cheng (郭烈成) to produce 700 tons of Chuan Tung Fragrant Lard Oil, thereby causing a massive potential health hazard to the consuming public.
The southern city's Health Department has already confiscated the remainder of the raw materials found at Chang Guann and prohibited the company from producing any new products.
Ho also said that the DOH has recalled 3,000 kilograms of Chang Guann products from local companies in Kaohsiung City. In addition, it also recalled 4,000 kilograms of Gossho lard oil, also made from Chang Guann's products.
In addition, the DOH also said that the main suspect, Kuo, who supplied the gutter oil to Chang Guann, will face criminal charges and a NT$300,000 fine.
FDA to Destroy Confiscated Products Made from Tainted Oil
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated yesterday that inspections into the tainted oil are almost finished and it will cooperate with local health departments to begin destroying the confiscated products - including tainted oil and related food products - starting today.
According to the FDA, the central and local governments sent 1,638 inspectors to check on a total of 7,339 food factories, night markets, booths and restaurants since Sept. 3 after the case of tainted oil was revealed by police.
A total of 782 tons of tainted oil entered the food market and inspectors have thus far tracked and confirmed 703 tons. Inspectors are still tracking the rest of the 79 tons of tainted oil products from Chang Guann.
The FDA pointed out that some of the information Chang Guann offered regarding the firm's clients is inaccurate or insufficient. Some of the companies cannot be reached while others deny using the tainted oil, said the FDA.
"The case will move to the next stage since most of the polluted products have been recalled. We will start to destroy all the confiscated products today," said Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美), deputy director-general of the FDA.
"For those companies that still deny using tainted oil or refuse to be inspected, we will cooperate with prosecutors to begin more serious enforcements until we get all the details and secure citizens' rights," continued Chiang.
Chiang also stated that since many recalled products are local food specialties, which are favoured by tourists and local citizens alike, the FDA and local governments will support food companies to restart the production of new products as soon as possible.
Chiang also emphasised that every new product will need to be inspected by local governments to guarantee quality.