Contaminated Taiwanese oil scandal prompts recalls in Vietnam

By Thanh Nien Staff, Thanh Nien News

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The door at Cuu Huong Company in Ho Chi Minh City were shut on city health officials on the night of September 15, 2014. The door at Cuu Huong Company in Ho Chi Minh City were shut on city health officials on the night of September 15, 2014.


Vietnamese food authorities ordered the recall of two shipments of Taiwanese-made canned food after Taiwanese trade officials said they contained contaminated oil.
The Cuu Huong Commerce and Service Company imported the two products, canned pickled cucumber with pork and canned minced meat with chilli, from the Wei Chuan Food Corporation.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hanoi informed the Food Safety Department at the Health Ministry that the products were among those affected by Taiwan's cooking oil scandal.
Taiwanese media reported this month that a company was caught producing cooking oil with recycled waste oil and animal feed oil. More than a thousand businesses have been affected so far.
Cuu Huong was asked to halt distribution and recall any and all contaminated products by September 20.
The department also ordered health departments in cities and provinces to lend a hand in recalling the products in their areas.
Cuu Huong did not cooperate with the recall and shut the door of its Ho Chi Minh City headquarters when officials from the city health department visited at 7 p.m. on Monday.
Local police were also not admitted when they arrived half an hour later.
The company only opened its door the following morning.
An officer said they would monitor the facility to prevent any of its employees from removing the products from its facility.
In denial
Representatives from Starbucks and BreadTalk in Vietnam both denied using contaminated Taiwanese oil after the Hong Kong government published a list of the oil importers on Monday, including the bakery brand BreadTalk and Maxim’s Food and Beverage which brought Starbucks to Vietnam.
A source from Binh Minh Toan Cau, which bought the license for BreadTalk Vietnam, said they were granted a licensing agreement from the mother company in Singapore, and their operation in Vietnam “has nothing to do with the Hong Kong outlets.”
“In Vietnam, BreadTalk buys locally-made cooking oil, specifically Cai Lan and Simply distributed by Tuan Loc,” the source said.
“We have all the documents and receipts to prove that.”
The brand has nine outlets in Ho Chi Minh City, one in the neighboring Binh Duong and another in the central resort town of Nha Trang.
A PR representative from Starbucks in Vietnam also said the brand has nothing to do with the Taiwanese oil scandal.
Starbucks' local PR Rep asked Thanh Nien to email the company's general director for detailed answers. The paper still hadn't received a response as of press time.
On September 12, The Japan Times cited Chiang Yu-mei, deputy director general of Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration, as saying that at least 14 food products containing the tainted oil had been exported to 12 countries and territories, including Vietnam.

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