Vietnam’s top food safety official has cleared a local company of complicity in Taiwan’s latest cooking oil scandal by saying the recycled oil it had exported was not meant for human consumption.
Tran Quang Trung, head of the Ministry of Health’s Food Safety Department, said that Ho Chi Minh City-based Dai Hanh Phuc company exported 43 million kilograms of animal feed-grade oil to Taiwan for making feed, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
“We’re just not clear if the Taiwanese buyers used the oil for the right purpose,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
An unidentified manager of Dai Hanh Phuc told officials at Taiwan’s representative office in Vietnam Saturday that her company exported six million kilograms of edible oil and 43 million kilograms of animal feed-grade oil to Taiwan between July 2011 and July 2014, the Focus Taiwan News Channel reported.
Ting Hsin, one of Taiwan’s largest food companies, has been found to have used recycled waste oil and oil intended for animal use from Dai Hanh Phuc for human consumption, it said.
Officials said Ting Hsin has been involved in all three tainted cooking oil scandals in Taiwan this year, the latest of which erupted earlier this month.
The Vietnamese executive said the exports were stopped last July.
Taiwanese diplomats said her statements could serve as “testimony” for Taiwanese authorities, but said her claim of export stoppage needs to be investigated.
They said that given the huge quantity, the oil can affect other Taiwanese companies than Ting Hsin.
Wei Ying-chung, who quit as chairman of Wei Chuan Foods Corp., a subsidiary of Ting Hsin, in the wake of the latest scandal, and four Ting Hsin executives have been taken in.
Yang Chen-yi, a Dai Hanh Phuc partner who helped supplied the oil to Ting Hsin, has also been taken into custody.
Trung said Vietnam has not imported any food products from Ting Hsin or the other companies embroiled in the scandal in Taiwan.
The Taiwan representative office asked Vietnam last month to recall some canned foods it said Ho Chi Minh City-based Cuu Huong company had imported from Wei Chuan.
But checks at the company found no such transactions.
Trung said the information was erroneous.