Copper chlorophylin found in 12 more oils in Taiwan

PHOTO: Copper chlorophylin found in 12 more oils in Taiwan

TAIPEI - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced 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 (泰山).

The FDA said that in addition to Fwusow and Taisun, Ting Hsin International Group (頂新國際集團), Changchi Foodstuff Factory Co. (大統長基食品), and Formosa Oilseed Processing Co., Ltd. are among the 12 cooking oil manufacturers that failed the copper chlorophyllin complex inspections.

FDA official Shih Yang-chih (施養志) said that the officials successfully developed a test to discover the amount of copper chlorophyllin complex contained inside cooking oil.

"It is against regulations to add copper chlorophyllin complex to cooking oils," said Shih.

FDA Division Director Feng Jun-lan (馮潤蘭) said that according to the Act Governing Food Sanitation, all cooking oils that contain copper chlorophyllin complex must be taken off shelves immediately.

"After the FDA received the inspection report, officials immediately phoned local health authorities to visit the oil manufacturers for further investigations," said Feng.

FDA Received Oil Issue Warning 4 Years Ago

FDA Director-General Yeh Ming-kung (葉明功) yesterday said that the Department of Health did receive an official document from the Spanish government alleging that the olive oils that were exported by Spain, then sold by Fwusow and Taisun, might not be pure olive oil.

Local reports yesterday revealed that the Spanish government issued an official document in 2009 to the Department of Health, which is the current Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW), but no officials followed up regarding the information.

Yeh yesterday denied the reports, saying that right after the Department of Health received the official document, the department immediately contacted local health officials to conduct investigations and demanded the oil companies to adjust the false labels on the oil products.

"However, the technology was not good enough to inspect if the olive oil is pure or mixed with other types of oils four years ago," said Yeh.

"The Spanish government issued another official document in 2011 and the Changhua County Public Health Bureau conducted another investigation, demanding Taisun to modify its label for cooking oil products," said Yeh.

According to Yeh, Taisun changed the labels on oil products claiming it was to pure olive oil made in Spain, but the Department of Health did not have the technology then to confirm that the olive oil was pure.

Oil Companies' Response

Fwusow yesterday said that the cooking oil that failed the FDA's inspection did pass the local health authority's inspections numerous times.

Chang Hsiu-chin of Fwusow said that the cooking oil that failed the FDA's inspection passed four inspections conducted by Taichung County's Health Bureau in 2009, 2010, and October and November this year.

Chang also said that the imported cooking oil products that Fwusow sells are all mislabeled claiming they originated in Taiwan instead of Spain.

Taisun yesterday held a press conference to clarify that the cooking oil product that failed the FDA's inspection has an international certification and a qualified inspection repost from a certified institute.

Taisun said that in order to protect the company's reputation from being damaged by false reports, it will consider taking legal action against the local media that reported false information.