TAIPEI, Taiwan - Premier Jiang Yi-huah yesterday afternoon bowed and apologised over the recent tainted edible oil scandal during his policy report at the Legislative Yuan.
"On behalf of the government, I would like to extend my deepest apologies to all my countrymen," Jiang said after he was prevented from delivering his policy report to the Legislature due to a protest by lawmakers from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).
The Legislature's new session began yesterday morning, in which the premier is obliged to make an address in the Assembly Hall at the beginning of every legislative session.
Opposition Demands an Apology
Opposition lawmakers yesterday morning demanded that Jiang apologise to the public over the recent edible oil incident; otherwise they would not allow him to deliver his report.
Before the afternoon legislative session resumed, Jiang told reporters outside the Assembly Hall that he apologises over the oil incident and he hopes the nation's officials will think of the pain even when the pain is gone and do their job to ensure food safety.
Jiang was later allowed to deliver his policy report in the afternoon after he made the apology.
While delivering his report, Jiang said that over the past two years there have been two other major food safety scandals in Taiwan that caused concern and discontent among the public. Jiang said on behalf of the government that he would like to issue a sincere apology to the nation. He bowed and apologised for the second time.
He was referring to the incident in May 2013 when several local food products were found to contain starch tainted with maleic acid. Shortly after, there was an issue of adulterated cooking oil, in which a food company admitted to adding cheap cottonseed oil to soybean oil and marketing the product as pure soybean oil.
Jiang said he is furious that some food manufacturers would sacrifice the public's health and Taiwan's reputation in the pursuit of profit. He went on to say that he has requested relevant government agencies to levy the heaviest punishments possible on the violators.
The Executive Yuan has also formed a taskforce to handle the matter, he said, noting that the government will carry out the regulations properly to prevent a similar food scandal from occurring again in the future.
When asked by lawmakers which government officials should be accountable for the oil scandal, Jiang responded by saying that the issue will be handled as soon as possible. "Someone will be responsible for the incident if he or she should hold themselves accountable," Jiang said.
Jiang added that the government has decided to alter the existing Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate system. He explained that currently the system issues the certification on a product-by-product basis, but the government will now require manufacturers who wish to take part in the certificate system to meet GMP standards for all of their products.