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September 24, 2017

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Flavor Full fined NT$8 mil. in oil scandal

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Flavor Full Foods (富味鄉食品公司) yesterday admitted to adding cottonseed oil to 24 cooking oil products sold in Taiwan, New Taipei City's Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday.

Flavor Full Foods President Chen Wen-nan (陳文南) claimed on Monday, Oct. 21 that all of the company's cooking oil products containing cottonseed oil are sold to other countries, but during an investigation on Wednesday night, Chen admitted that 24 of the company's cooking oils sold in Taiwan contained cottonseed oil as well.

According to the DOH, aside from these 24 products, one peanut oil product manufactured by Flavor Full Foods was found to contain peanut-flavored extract.

Lin Kuan-chin of the DOH said that Flavor Full Foods was fined NT$8 million for violating the Act Governing Food Sanitation and was ordered to immediately recall all products that do not meet regulations from store shelves.

Even though Chen claimed that all of the company's cooking oil products containing cottonseed oil were not sold in Taiwan, health officials discovered discrepancies in the company's distribution records of certain cooking oil products, Lin said.

Lin said that according to Chen, most of the cooking oil products containing cottonseed oil were purchased by restaurants, food stands and food processors.

"It will take from 10 days to two weeks to complete an examination of the 11 cooking oil products from the company begun on Oct. 21," said Lin.

Based on a statement by Flavor Full Foods issued yesterday, the company started adding cottonseed oil into cooking oil products sold in Taiwan in 2011, which did not match the statement the company made on Oct. 21.

According to the DOH, the case has been transferred to the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office for further investigation.

Chen proactively visited the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office to explain details of the tainted oil case and was released on bail of NT$2.5 million after being questioned by prosecutors.

FDA Official Tears Up

Tsai Shu-chen (蔡淑貞) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday cried at the Legislative Yuan over being accused of covering up the tainted oil case.

Tsai burst into tears when being asked whether someone from the FDA should be held responsible for not having brought the tainted oil incident under control.

"I feel sorry for all my coworkers because every one of them has been working so hard at their jobs," said Tsai.

"Maybe the FDA does not receive information as fast as local health officials who are responsible for investigating cooking oil factories," Tsai said. "But the FDA definitely has everything under control and is ready to cooperate with prosecutors."

Tsai said that local health departments have the right to determine if Flavor Full Foods' operation license should be revoked.

All Contaminated Oil off Market by 11/8

Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) yesterday said that all cooking oil manufacturers will be required to sign an affidavit by Oct. 31 to promise that all ingredients and additives in their cooking oils abide by regulations.

"Health officials will inspect all cooking oil products on the market from November to make sure that there will be no contaminated cooking oil on the market by Nov. 8," said Chiu.

Chiu also said that 145 out of 163 cooking oil manufacturing facilities have been inspected and that the results of the inspection will be published by next week.

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