Formosa Oilseed Processing Co. fined NT$15 mil. for mislabeling
By Joy Lee ,The China Post
November 3, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Formosa Oilseed Processing Co., Ltd. (FOPCO, 福懋油) was fined NT$15 million for intentionally mislabeling six cooking oil mixtures as pure olive oils, the Taichung City Health Bureau said yesterday.
The Health Bureau also demanded that FOPCO remove all six mislabeled oil products from store shelves immediately.
FOPCO General Manager Hsu Min-chung apologized for the mislabeling case, saying that the company will consider stopping the sale of small-package olive oil because it might be hard to regain customers' trust within a short period of time.
According to the Health Bureau, two of the six oil mixtures were discovered to contain canola and olive oils produced by Tatung Changchi Foodstuff Factory Co. Ltd. (大統長基食品), which was fined NT$1.85 billion for selling impure products and publishing deceptive advertisements.
Taichung Health Bureau Director Huang Mei-na (黃美娜) said that despite three visits by inspectors to FOPCO's oil factory, the manufacturer consistently claimed that there were no issues regarding its cooking oil products.
"Even after the test results conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW), which came out on Thursday, showed that the fatty acid ratios of certain FOPCO oil products were questionable, the company still insisted on the purity of its cooking oil products," said Huang.
"Health inspectors visited the factory again on Friday night, but the business owner still denied having mislabeled the oil products," said Huang. "It was not until police and prosecutors arrived on the scene that the business owner started to cooperate and admitted to labeling cooking oil mixtures as pure cooking oil."
According to Huang, officials of the Health Bureau seized 16,027 bottles of cooking oil products as well as 6,896 kilograms of olive oils and grape-seed oils manufactured by Changchi.
After questioning four supervisors of FOPCO, the director of the oil factory was charged with fraud and violations of the Act Governing Food Sanitation, and was later released on NT$500,000 bail.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Division Director Feng Jun-lan (馮潤蘭) yesterday said that the administration will continue to seize all mislabeled cooking oil products made by FOPCO.
Feng said that FOPCO could not come up with documents that attested to the contents of its six cooking oil products after results of the MHW's fatty acid test suggested that FOPCO's oil products might be oil mixtures.
"FOPCO is one of the oil manufacturers that signed an affidavit that the ingredients marked on the labels of its oil products matched the ingredients contained inside, but the company claimed that it had stopped mislabeling cooking oil products after signing the affidavit," Feng said.
"The MHW cannot accept FOPCO's statements," said Feng. "Any oil manufacturers should follow regulations while operating with or without signing the affidavit."
MHW Vice Minister Shiu Ming-neng (許銘能) said that an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation, which would raise fines for mislabeling products from the current NT$15 million to NT$50 million, will be referred to the Executive Yuan for review next week.