Taipei, Oct. 24 (CNA) Taiwan will hold a national conference on food safety in November, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced Thursday, as Taiwan is hit by another food safety scandal involving adulterated edible oils.
The meeting will bring government representatives together with experts in food processing and checking, law, and toxicology to focus on improving food sanitation, said Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta at a press conference. A separate meeting will be held this Saturday to discuss holding violators accountable, handling their illegal gains, and imposing stricter regulations, he said. The ministry has instructed all edible oil producers to offer a signed guarantee before the end of the month that all raw materials and additives used in their products are clearly labeled, he said. President Ma Ying-jeou also voiced in on the scandal Thursday, expressing outrage on his official Facebook page, where he wrote that relevant authorities have been instructed to pursue the matter to the fullest extent of the law. Ma wrote that Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co., the producer of the tainted oils, has been fined NT$28.6 million (US$973,000) under the newly amended Act Governing Food Sanitation, which was passed in May to increase penalties for food producers using illegal additives. Chang Chi was found to be mixing cheaper cottonseed oil and, in the case of olive oil, copper chlorophyllin -- a coloring agent banned in cooking oils in Taiwan -- into its popular Tatung-brand of cooking oils, giving rise to public alarm over the state of food safety. (By Lung Rui-yun, Lee Shu-hua and Y.L. Kao)