TAIPEI, Taiwan - With inspections connected to the polluted oil scandal underway, more well-known companies have been implicated for using tainted oil. In addition, local governments are also taking strict measures to deal with the problem. Not only have they asked companies to recall problematic food products, but they are also issuing fines to companies unwilling to cooperate with examination procedures.
The Public Health Department, New Taipei City Government (PHD) issued a NT$6 million (S$250,000) fine to distributor Chiau Shen (巧紳) and a NT$5 million fine to scallion pancake manufacturer Hung Hsiang (紅象) due to the fact that they did not report their use of tainted oil.
According to the PHD, Chiau Shen refused to provide their procurement list and Hung Hsiang denied using the tainted oil during the inspection. Further investigation revealed more evidence of the use of tainted oil, eventually provoking the two companies to admit to their misdeeds. Therefore, the PHD decided to punish both of them severely.
The PHD also confiscated 100,000 slices of scallion pancakes from Hung Hsiang during the inspection that will soon be destroyed.
In addition, the Health Bureau of Taichung City also issued fines to two traditional pastry shops, Tai Yang Tang (太陽堂) and Chung Hsing (忠興), of NT$2 million and NT$1.5 million respectively. The Health Bureau believes that these two shops tried to conceal the fact that they were using polluted oil and did not actively stop using the oil to produce new products.
Lei Ming-hsien (雷明憲), the manager of Tai Yang Tang, apologised to customers and stated that he will accept the punishment. He pointed out that customers can bring receipts and empty boxes to the shop for refunds before the end of September.
However, Lei also said that food companies and shops are also victims. He stated that it is unreasonable for the shops to take on all the repercussions. He could not help but desire to ask the government if it is wrong to believe in their ability to enforce proper certification for food products.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later updated the list of companies that had bought Chung Guann's tainted oil yesterday afternoon, saying that there are 1,247 food companies affected by this issue, including 235 food manufacturers and distributors as well as 1,012 shops and restaurants.
According to the FDA, health departments have sent 1,482 staff members over the past few days to inspect a total of 6,547 food factories, booths, night markets, retailers and restaurants. With the help of local governments and companies, the FDA expects to end the operation in two days.
More Well-known Brands Found to Use Tainted Oil
The Tainan City Department of Health (DOH) discovered yesterday that packages of instant spicy soup made by Jofont (久芳興業) contain polluted oil and were sold to Hi-life convenience stores to cook oden soup.
Hi-life has bought 37,000 packages of the instant soup. The DOH estimated that it can recall 7,500 packages, which means that almost 30,000 soup packages have already been consumed.
The DOH reminded companies to inspect their own operations and report to authorities as soon as possible if polluted oil is detected. Otherwise, the DOH will start imposing strict fines to punish those companies that conceal their use of tainted oil.