FEHD continues to follow up on Taiwan "substandard fats and oils" incident proactively

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) continued to proactively investigate the Taiwan "substandard fats and oils" incident. A spokesman for the CFS today (October 28) said that, in response to the latest announcement and investigation of the Taiwanese authorities, the CFS was prepared to issue a Food Safety Order to prohibit importing into Hong Kong and supplying within Hong Kong all edible fats and oils (of animal or plant origins) produced by Cheng I Food Co Ltd (Cheng I) and Ting Hsin Oil & Fat Industrial Co Ltd (Ting Hsin) in Taiwan and all food products made with the above-mentioned fats and oils, as well as to mandate the recall of the products concerned by food traders.

A CFS spokesman said, "According to the latest information released by the Taiwanese authorities last night, it was confirmed by the Vietnamese authorities that Dai Hanh Phuc Company has not been certified by a competent authority in Vietnam as a qualified food manufacturer under relevant food safety requirements. Hence, the Taiwanese authorities have ordered a mandatory removal from shelves all oils and related products produced from the aforesaid oil ingredients from Vietnam, including the products produced by Ting Hsin using beef tallow and coconut oil ingredients imported from Vietnam. Besides, the Centre has received notification from the Taiwan authorities that certain food products made with Cheng I's substandard fats and oils had been exported to Hong Kong."

He added, "The FEHD has already taken precautionary measures early this month to stop the import into and supply within Hong Kong all edible oils produced in Taiwan, and have achieved desired results. However, in view of the latest development of the incident, the CFS considers it necessary to issue a Food Safety Order to mandate the recall of the affected oils and food products by food traders in a systematic manner to ensure that they are no longer in circulation in the local market to further reduce public health risk. Upon completion of the relevant procedures, the CFS will gazette the order and make an announcement as soon as possible."

Since October 9, the CFS has marked and sealed about 230 tonnes of edible fats and oils imported from Taiwan. The CFS will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate action, which include liaising with the Taiwanese authorities closely, conducting investigations and monitoring the recall. The CFS will also adopt a risk-based approach and enhance surveillance for edible oil and relatively high-risk foods imported from other places (including Taiwan). Samples will be tested for contaminants in order to ensure food safety.

Ends/Tuesday, October 28, 2014