`Executive Arrested in Taiwan Cooking Oil Scandal - Olive Oil Times

Executive Arrested in Taiwan Cooking Oil Scandal

By Marco Marino
Oct. 24, 2014 10:22 UTC
Wei Ying-chung (AFP)

Another food scan­dal con­cern­ing cook­ing oil has led to the mar­ket with­drawal of 68 brands in Taiwan. This time Wei Chuan Foods Corp., a sub­sidiary of Ting Hsin International Group (China’s biggest instant noo­dle maker), is accused of blend­ing bad batches of oils for sale as cook­ing oil.

According to reports, part of the oil was obtained from the Po Yuen Lard Company in Yuen Long, which said it made the oil from unsold pork scraps from pro­duce mar­kets which it sold to ani­mal feed fac­to­ries, bio-diesel and export com­pa­nies. That oil was then blended with gut­ter oil,” an ille­gal sub­stance made from kitchen waste.

The Wei Chuan Foods Corp chair­man, Wei Ying-chung, was inter­ro­gated back in November 2013 on charges of fraud and breach of food safety, but he was released on $340,000 bail. Prosecutors sus­pected his busi­ness group had made $28.6 mil­lion in ille­gal prof­its.

Wei Chuan also recalled tens of thou­sands of bot­tles of cook­ing oil adul­ter­ated with a banned col­or­ing agent in 2013.

Wei stepped down as chair­man of Wei Chuan Foods before his arrest. He is being detained dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion.

The Taiwanese gov­ern­ment ini­tially guar­an­teed the qual­ity of Ting Hsin International Group oil, but some irreg­u­lar­i­ties were dis­cov­ered and reported to the inves­ti­ga­tors on September 18.

Eight days later, the com­pany was ordered to with­draw the adul­ter­ated prod­ucts. This news was not released, though, because the gov­ern­ment said pros­e­cu­tors had asked that the inves­ti­ga­tion remain con­fi­den­tial. When the news finally leaked this week, the author­i­ties ordered the imme­di­ate pulling of all of the com­pa­ny’s 68 brands from shelves every­where.

The Taipei Times reports that the adul­ter­ated oil could have been used by 52 schools and 363 food com­pa­nies in Taiwan, but the Taiwanese Food and Drug Administration have not dis­closed their names. Now the local author­i­ties are inves­ti­gat­ing where the adul­ter­ated prod­ucts might also have been exported to.

Reactions to the scan­dal were imme­di­ate, and far-reach­ing: In China a boy­cott has started against the Ting Hsin International Group and the Internet is buzzing with con­cern by many who fear the adul­ter­ated oil has been used in prod­ucts exported to their own mar­kets. Their con­cern is jus­ti­fied. Taiwan absorbs just a part of the Ting Hsin Group pro­duc­tion, and it is likely its prod­ucts are now in other coun­tries, espe­cially China.

If con­victed, Wei could be sen­tenced to impris­on­ment up to 15 years, along with sev­eral exec­u­tives of the com­pany.


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