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Taiwan’s ‘gutter oil’ scandal reaches Macau

The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) disclosed Sunday  that 21 local retail and wholesale bakeries have been affected by Taiwan’s “gutter oil” scandal, with Kam Kei Pastry identified by the bureau as the latest victim. Fong Kei Pastry, a well-known shop located in Rua da Cunha in Taipa, and Padaria da Guia have also […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:54 am

The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) disclosed Sunday  that 21 local retail and wholesale bakeries have been affected by Taiwan’s “gutter oil” scandal, with Kam Kei Pastry identified by the bureau as the latest victim.

Fong Kei Pastry, a well-known shop located in Rua da Cunha in Taipa, and Padaria da Guia have also been hit by the scandal.

The affected businesses include a local bakery that bears the same Chinese name as Hong Kong’s Kee Wah Bakery. The latter said in a statement over the weekend that it has nothing to do with the Macau shop having the same name. The statement added that Kee Wah Bakery did not use the tainted oil, adding that it directly ships its own products to its two branches in Macau.

The scandal broke after it was revealed late last week that Chang Guann Co. Ltd., a Kaohsiung-based food oil manufacturer, had used tainted oil from an unlicensed factory in Pingtung county to produce rendered lard, some of which was exported to Macau.

According to the IACM, the bureau has yet to find any food products from Taiwan that have been made with “gutter oil”. However, Tai Heng Foods, the local supplier of the oil, had imported 2,300 cans from Chang Guann in the last four months and already sold about 1,000 cans to local retail and wholesale bakeries.

The bureau also said it expected more bakeries to be affected.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters on Saturday at the bureau’s headquarters, IACM Administration Committee member Ung Sau Hong said the bureau had confiscated the remaining cans of oil from Tai Heng Foods.

Asked by reporters if there are flaws in the way the bureau inspects imported food products, Pao Chi In, who heads the Food Inspection Division of IACM’s Department of Food and Animal Inspection and Control, suggested that the authorities in Taiwan may have been deceived. Consequently, companies in Macau and nearby regions imported the tainted products without being aware of the issue.

Meanwhile, the owner of Fong Kei Pastry told TDM  that his company only began using the tainted oil last month, adding he worried that his shop’s reputation will be hit by the scandal. He also said the shop would give refunds to customers or exchange their purchases if required. Moreover, the owner of Padaria da Guia criticised the government for being lax when inspecting imports of food products.

Moreover, speaking to reporters  Sunday at the airport before heading to Xiamen, Chief Executive (CE) Fernando Chui Sai On said his government regarded the well-being of citizens and tourists as its top priority, adding it would take swift action to ensure that any tainted products will be removed from the shelves.

Largely used for fuel production, so-called “gutter oil” is usually collected from restaurant drains and grease traps. In this case, the drainage oil was allegedly recycled by the unlicensed factory using kitchen waste in addition to meat offal and pig skin from slaughterhouses in Taiwan.

The Health Bureau (SSM) said in a statement Sunday that chemicals that can be found in “gutter oil” include aflatoxin and benzopyrene, which can cause liver damage and cancer respectively. However, the bureau stressed that there is no information that the “gutter oil” in question contains such chemicals, adding it was yet to receive information of any resident having fallen ill after consuming products made with the recycled oil. It also said that the chance of anyone becoming ill after consuming small quantities of products containing “gutter oil” is very small.(macaunews/macaupost)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:54 am

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