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List of 37 oils that 'failed tests' leaked to Internet: MHW

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) held an interim press conference yesterday after a list of 37 cooking oil products that supposedly failed inspections for fatty acids was posted on the Internet.

MHW Vice Minister Shiu Ming-neng (許銘能) said that the list came from an official document falsely issued by the MHW to a local health department, which demanded that the cooking oils in question be immediately removed from store shelves.

“The MHW officials did not intend to ask the local health officials to take the cooking oil products off shelves,” said Shiu. “Instead, the MHW only wished to inform the officials to go to those manufacturers and conduct investigations.”

The MHW yesterday did confirm that a number of cooking oils are suspected to have fatty acid issues, raising public concerns over food safety.

The MHW said that some major food companies, including Taisun Enterprise Co. (泰山), Ting Hsin International Group (頂新), and Taiwan Sugar Corporation (台糖), were on the list.

However, the MHW said, further investigations and examinations are required to confirm if the cooking oil samples do fail the inspections.

“I don't know why the list was leaked, but the ministry and I will review the situation and the officials who were responsible for the document leak will receive necessary punishment,” said Shiu.

Shiu also said that if the oil manufacturers' rights were violated due to the leak of the list, the government would be responsible.

Pan Jyh-quan (潘志寬), of the MHW's Food and Drug Division, said that it should be his responsibility for the misunderstanding between the MHW officials and local health officials over the misunderstood document.

MHW spokesman Wang Che-chao (王哲超) said that the list in question is not the list of cooking oil products that failed inspections because the MHW has yet to receive the results of investigations conducted by local health officials.

Wang also said that the main focus for inspections is the concentration of fatty acids in the oil and the MHW has to cooperate with prosecutors and local health officials to look into the contents of cooking oils in order to find out if manufacturers meet the regulations.

According to the MHW, Ting Hsin International Group is among 111 oil manufacturers that signed an affidavit ensuring that the ingredients marked on their labels match the ingredients inside their products.

The MHW refused to publish the list of cooking oils that are suspected to have fatty acid issues on Tuesday, saying that the investigations on the oil manufacturers were still ongoing.

Manufacturers' Responses

Wei Chuan Corp., a food company under Ting Hsin International Group, yesterday said that the company will take the cooking oil product that was on the leaked MHW list off shelves.

Wei Chuan CORP. said that the refund system for customers will be activated immediately.

Taisun Enterprise Co. said that after confirming with the local health department, the two cooking oil products on the MHW leaked list meet safety regulations, so the company decided not to take the two products off shelves.

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Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) Vice Minister Shiu Ming-neng (許銘能) holds an erroneously released document calling for the shelving of 37 cooking oil products, right, and the document the MHW issued later to revoke it. The second document was to notify the authorities to conduct an “inspection,” not a “recall” of the products, as the MHW wrongly ordered in the earlier document. (CNA)

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