TAIPEI, Taiwan - Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday demanded that all waste-oil tainted food products in Taiwan be removed from shelves by this Sunday at the latest.
Following the news of local cooking oil manufacturer Chang Guann Co. (強冠) diluting products with harmful oil refined from discarded food waste and selling it to many domestic food companies, Jiang yesterday convened a cross-ministry meeting at the Executive Yuan.
Jiang was quoted by Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群), saying that he feels pained by the food safety scandal. The premier demanded all government agencies to investigate the incident and levy the heaviest punishments on the violators, Sun said.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW), the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the Council of Agriculture (COA) were all asked to sort out a list of questionable food manufacturers and food products as soon as possible, Sun said. The premier also demanded that officials ensure there will be no tainted food products on the shelves by next Monday, he added.
The premier requested that the MHW inspect and reveal Chang Guann's 235 clients to the public, adding that it must simultaneously remove all tainted products from the shelves in order to ease the public's mind.
The Education Ministry and the Defence Ministry were asked to investigate if the wasted oil products and the tainted food items have entered military and school facilities across the country. The MOEA has been asked to revoke Chang Guann's Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificates, the spokesman said.
The premier during the cross-ministry meeting also instructed the MHW to study the potential negative impact that the waste oil may have on human bodies and to release the results of this study to the public as soon as possible, Sun said.
The spokesman further said that the MHW will have to hold a press conference every morning and afternoon on a daily basis to explain the latest progress of the incident to the public.
The Executive Yuan has already formed a taskforce led by Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo to respond to the latest fallout from the food safety scandal, Sun said.
Sun, however, refused to comment on Wei-Chuan Food Co.'s (味全) and other large local food companies' involvement in the food safety incident. Wei-Chuan on Thursday announced that it would pull its 12 products from store shelves, as they contain lard oils bought from Chang Guann.