Every food safety issue is unique: Hau
By Lauly Li ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said different food safety incidents require different handling methods by the government, saying that the Top Pot Bakery controversy is a matter of deception.
August 28, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Hau's comment came after local media and commentators suggested that the Taipei government has been handling the Top Pot Bakery matter more harshly than the toxic starch food issue a few months ago.
The mayor said the key point of the toxic starch scare, in which processed food had been altered with maleic acid to enhance the products' texture, and the toxic milk powder scandal was to trace and control their source. “So that's how the city government handled the issue,” Hau said.
He added, however, that Top Pot Bakery has been “deceiving” consumers, noting that the bakery is “very abominable and dishonest.” Thus Taipei has been handling the issue according to the Consumer Protection Law, and handed it over to Taipei prosecutors to investigate, he said.
The bakery had claimed its products were made with all-natural ingredients and zero flavoring; however, this was found to be somewhat an inaccurate claim as it had been adding artificial essences.
“Just like other citizens, I had bought bread from Top Pot Bakery,” the mayor said.
“How citizens feel about the bakery now, I feel the same.”
Aside from the incident itself, the mayor said that what stands out is that there is a loophole in current food safety laws. Hau explained that there is no specific regulation stipulating that food providers must list any additives on product packaging.
Local press have said Hau's harsh pursuit of the issue is a political calculation for the 2016 presidential election.
In response, Hau said that he only does what a mayor should do, which is to protect the citizens, ensure food safety and fight for citizens' rights.
The Taipei City Government Consumers' Protection Office (CPO) on Monday held a negotiation meeting with Top Pot Bakery in regard to refund methods. The CPO demanded the bakery offer refunds to customers of three times the purchase amount. The bakery did not accept the demand.
The CPO yesterday said starting from today citizens can file complaints to the CPO to handle group consumer disputes with Top Pot Bakery. But the office noted that it will only accept cases of more than 20 consumers in an application.