TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said it will not levy punishment against the magazine Business Weekly over the magazine's recent controversial article about toxins in dairy products.
The Chinese-language Business Weekly commissioned Chen Liang-yu, a biotechnology professor at Ming Chuan University, to analyse nine dairy products on the market. Chen published a report in the magazine claiming that residues of various chemicals and drugs, including plasticizers and antibiotics, were found in the test samples.
Dairy Products are Safe: FDA
The FDA, which is under the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW), said that after running numerous tests on eight of the nine dairy products mentioned in the article, no residues of illegal drugs or chemicals were found in the products. The FDA said some traces of plasticizers were discovered in the products, but amounts of the substances were lower than the legal limit for plasticizers. The ninth product is no longer available on the market as the manufacturer has stopped producing it.
Business Weekly last weekend provided information regarding Chen's research on the nine products, but refused to offer results of the laboratory tests, claiming it was obliged to protect its news sources.
FDA Deputy Director-General Chiang Yu-mei said although Business Weekly offered some information to the administration, it did not provide all the required information, including information on research methods, equipment used for examinations and the name and address of the laboratory.
The FDA demanded that the magazine provide the information before 5 p.m. on Nov. 27, threatening that failure to do so would incur fines of between NT$5,000 (S$211) and NT$300,000 for violation of the Administration Execution Act, Chiang said, stressing that the FDA will not fine the magazine over its article.
Chiang further noted that once the FDA is notified of Chen's research method, the administration will adopt Chen's method to conduct another round of tests on the dairy products. She maintained that even if there are flaws in Chen's research, the FDA will not fine the magazine.
As for the magazine's concern for protecting its sources, the FDA said it will not suppress non-governmental laboratory results, and it welcomes any government-certified laboratories to examine food products.
Business Weekly's Response
Business Weekly yesterday said it had not received the FDA's official request to provide more information regarding details of examinations on the nine dairy products, noting that it will make an official response once it receives the request from the FDA.
The magazine urged the government to set up a standard for the amount of plasticizers contained in dairy products as soon as possible.