Taiwan cracks down on harbor oil imports

Taiwan cracks down on harbor oil imports

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) yesterday announced that harbor import controls have been activated, with no imported cooking oil allowed to enter Taiwan without documents to prove the products have passed inspections.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Wednesday that copper chlorophyllin complex, a prohibited additive, was discovered in 12 cooking oils manufactured by major local oil companies, including Fwusow Industry Co. (福壽) and Taisun Enterprise Co., Ltd. (泰山).

According to the MHW, the grapeseed and olive oils manufactured by Fwusow and Taisun that failed the inspections were imported from Spain and Italy.

The Public Health Bureau of Changhua County searched Taisun's offices on Wednesday and seized certain oil products that were produced with imported oil from Spain.

FDA Division Director Feng Jun-lan (馮潤蘭) said that many local health officials also visited Taisun and Fwusow's oil factories, and based on the information that the officials collected so far, the two companies did not add other low-cost oils into the imported grapeseed or olive oils.

"The FDA suspects that at least three imported oil products could contain low-cost cooking oils but were labeled as pure olive oils or pure grapeseed oils," said Feng.

"According to the information that the FDA has so far, the grapeseed oil and olive oil that were discovered to contain copper chlorophyllin complex were imported from Spain and Italy," said Feng. "The FDA officials are working on contacting the Spanish and Italian offices in Taiwan in order to receive more information regarding oil imports."

Feng said that the MHW already activated the harbor import control and demanded all the imported cooking oils have documents to prove that they passed inspections. Meanwhile, the FDA will also conduct random cooking oil inspections to make sure that no cooking oil products do not contain copper chlorophyllin complex.

Spanish Company Searched for Importing Questionable Oil

The Changhua District Prosecutors Office yesterday searched Spain via Vidoria SL's office in Taichung City for allegedly providing major oil manufacturers with imported oils that contained copper chlorophyllin complex.

According to the prosecutors, major oil companies such as Fwusow, Taisun, Formosa Oilseed Processing Co., Ltd., and Ting Hsin International Group all purchased imported oil products from Spain via Vidoria SL.

The prosecutors said that so far there were no signs showing that Taisun added any prohibited ingredients to its oil products, so the government should work on requesting information from Spain via Vidoria SL to better understand the manufacturing process of the products imported to Taiwan.

Taisun and Fwusow Insist on Innocence

Fwusow Chairman Hung Yao-kun yesterday said that all the company's products that were discovered to contain copper chlorophyllin complex were imported and the company did not add any banned substances.

Hung said that the MHW should let all the oil manufacturers know what to do to prove their innocence.

Taisun's spokesman Lin Li-wan yesterday also said that the company did not change the formula or add any ingredients into the oil products that were imported from other countries.

Lin said that the company will demand the oil manufacturer in Spain that Taisun imported the oil products from to provide inspection documents to prove that the products are not tainted.

Spanish Response

The Spanish Chamber of commerce yesterday issued a press release to inform the public regarding the article published by Next Magazine on Nov. 13 about a study by the chamber.

According to the press release, the mentioned study has not been published or distributed to the media by the office. It is an internal study written in Spanish by a trainee in 2009. The purpose of the study was to analyze possible cases of misleading labeling practices on olive oil products in Taiwan.

The chamber said that the intention of the study was not to prove illegal practices according to existing regulations or the official position of the office.

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