Taiwan food producer pulls 12 products from shelves

Wei-Chuan Food Co. yesterday announced in a statement that the firm is pulling 12 products from store shelves, as they contain lard oils procured from a supplier who has been suspected of diluting products with harmful oil refined from discarded food waste.

The company yesterday acknowledged that its products contained tainted lard oils procured from Chang Guann Co. The Taipei City Department of Health (TPCDH) noted that Wei-Chuan had voluntarily filed a report explaining the circumstances of their tainted products at a press conference yesterday evening. Citing Wei-Chuan's statement, the TPCDH stated that the company had used about 15.6 tons of refuse-refined oil since April of this year. The TPCDH, however, stated that the number of products containing the tainted oils sold by the firm that have been consumed by the public cannot be determined at this time and pledged that a comprehensive probe of all major retail outlets and farmers' associations will be initiated.

The company stated that consumers who had purchased the products in question may seek refunds at its retail and distribution outlets or contact its hotline for questions. Wei-Chuan, the food production arm of Ting Hsin International Group also issued a reprimand to unscrupulous suppliers who had damaged the company's reputation, adding that it does not rule out taking legal action to preserve the interest of its customers.

The 12 Wei-Chuan products pulled from shelves yesterday are comprised of a variety of canned pork, pork sauces and flossed pork.

Police Sweeps Uncover Widespread Use of Tainted Oil

Following a recent police sweep that dismantled a Pingtung-based refuse food oil production ring headed by Guo Lieh-cheng, investigators discovered that the low-grade oil refined from food waste had been procured by several other companies and repackaged to be sold as lard oil to clients including Wei-Chuan.

Reports indicate that when the police raided the refuse food oil production facility in Pingtung with environmental and health officials, they had found appalling sanitary conditions at the facility. Officials at the scene stated that they were confronted with a vile stench and that the refuse oil was summarily stored in barrels with a layer of floating sediments.

Investigators found that the food refuse oil production ring had been undercutting competitors by a mere NT$10 (S$0.419) per barrel. In addition, investigators found that about 200 tons of this tainted oil have been sold annually to food companies, vendors in Shilin night market and for use in products such as mooncakes and pineapple cakes.