Hong Kong has banned the importation and sale of oil products from a Taiwan company at the heart of a deepening food safety scandal.
Also, the government ordered the recall of the products within 14 days, RTHK reported Sunday.
The ban took effect on Sunday after government investigators said six local companies had imported lard products from Chang Guann, the Taiwanese manufacturer found to have sold “gutter oil” or recycled oil products.
The recall is retroactive to March 1. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,902) and imprisonment of up to 12 months.
Vivian Lau, director of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, said the recall involves about 500 metric tons, about 10 percent of which have been seized over the past week.
Legislator Alan Leong, leader of the Civic Party and a member of the Legislative Council’s panel on food safety and environmental hygiene, criticized the government for moving too slowly and causing panic among Hong Kong consumers.
Another legislator, Dr. Hon Kwok Ka-ki, complained the government is behind Macau by up to three days in dealing with the problem.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong restaurants warned of potential price increases as they began importing oil products from the Netherlands.
Imports of Dutch-made lard have risen to 300-400 barrels a day from about 60 previously.
Taiwan accounted for 70 percent of such imports before the scandal broke out.
– Contact us at [email protected]