09/18/2014, 00.00
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Taipei and food scandals, damages to the tune of 130 million euro

by Xin Yage
After the investigation into the Guann Chang Co. - guilty of producing oil from expired products - the government runs for cover: investigations, convictions, fines and "more vigorous" inspections to stop a trend that threatens to destroy the domestic food market.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - An nightmare without end: the scandal of contaminated food dangerous to people's health is once again making headlines in Taiwan. After the last year's episodes, this time it is a different kind of oil that is posing a risk to the health of citizens.

The Chang Guann Co. (強 冠), based in Kaohsiung (高雄市), is being investigated after authorities discovered that oil for public consumption was mixed with oil recycled from industrial use and even oil extracted from food waste and had been sold to wide range of customers including more than a thousand food companies and restaurants scattered throughout the territory.

The Director General of Guann Chang Co., Yeh Wen-hsiang (葉文祥), after apologizing on his knees in front of TVcameras (see photo), was arrested for fraud two days ago to prevent him escaping abroad: the company is now closed and impounded.

Also another company related to the distribution, Chiau Shen (巧 紳) and a sweet manufacturer, Hung Hsiang (紅 象), have been fined six million  and five million Taiwanese dollars respectively (about 130 thousand EUR) for non-cooperation and the use of the toxic oil.

The economy minister Tyzz-Jiun Duh (杜紫軍), yesterday said that the recent oil scandal has caused a loss of 5 billion Taiwanese dollars (about 130 million euro). And what matters most is the "incalculable loss of confidence " abroad in the food island's industry. Since last year  food scandals have emerged one after another, and this is a very dangerous phenomenon: "When you lose the trust of customers, especially abroad, the problem becomes really serious."

At the press conference Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文 達) then reiterated that if contaminated products are not removed from all shops and food retailers in two weeks he will offer his resignation. He said that "within two days there should be more such foods now on sale, because the reconnaissance survey has started and will continue for two weeks so that there is not the slightest doubt about food security."


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