Twenty-three more restaurants and shops in Hong Kong have been found using recycled oil products, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.
Sixteen were ramen shops, including Japanese restaurant chain Sapporo Ramen Miso No. 1 in Tsim Sha Tsui district, which was once recommended by famous Hong Kong food critic Chua Lam.
Also on the list was Azabu Sabo, which operates several outlets across Hong Kong, the report said, citing the Center for Food Safety.
The findings bring to 604 the number of shops and restaurants that have used lard made by Chang Guann Co., the Taiwan manufacturer at the center of a food safety scandal involving recycled oil, the report said.
The restaurants said it’s normal practice to add lard to a soup base to enhance its flavor.
Meanwhile, food industry sources criticised the government for not doing enough to deal with the scandal, saying it should be more proactive instead of leaving the concerned shops to take responsibility.
Leung Kui-tang, a member of Hong Kong Catering Industry, said restaurants face enormous challenges after being required by the government to discard used cooking oil only to licensed recyclers.
He said it’s not easy to verify their identities.
The Legislative Council panel on food safety and environmental hygiene held a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue.
Lawmakers asked the Food and Health Bureau to submit the results of its investigation into the extent of the problem and whether recycled oil is still being sold in Hong Kong.
Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said related government departments are reviewing import and export data on recycled oil and that he could not promise a time frame, drawing criticism from the panel.
Hong Kong imported 7,015 metric tons of recycled oil in the first seven months of the year, with 652 metric tons coming from the mainland. Only 443 metric tons were re-exported overseas, the report said, citing official data.
– Contact us at [email protected]