Well, I've been manfully ignoring this latest cooking oil scandal, one in a string of dozens over the years since I've been here. I tire of commenting on them. But it's no use. It's just too damn big and hot right now. The KMT news organ emotes:
Last week, it was revealed that Cheng-I Food Co., Ltd. (正義公司), a subsidiary of the Ting Hsin Group (頂新集團), allegedly mixed animal feed oil with edible oil to produce over 60 kinds of cooking oil products for sale. During a press conference in the morning of October 11, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) stated that the tainted oil scandal caused widespread public concerns over food safety, and pledged that the government would demonstrate its resolve to root out all black-hearted (unscrupulous) food manufacturers. Jiang vowed, “The government will take all necessary measures to eliminate the production of tainted foods.”In case you were wondering, the Kaohsiung city government shut down the production lines of Ting Hsin and Cheng-I, meaning that they do have the power to do that. Horse, barn door, etc. The premier had tariffs on imported lard lowered to help get exports to cover demand.
The Changhua County prosecutors office is pursuing this affair, and have detained several people related to the two firms. Chiayi county hosts the factories which sold animal feed oil to Ting Hsin/Cheng-I and the operators of those firms are being detained as well. The oil meant for animal feed came originally from Vietnam, so only the food gods know what is in it. *sigh*
I wrote in November of 2013 about the scandal last October: What's Not in the News:
HEADLINE NEWS!!!! Taiwan gov't tipped off by Spain in 2009could be something wrong with the oil! Or adulterated oil company executive appears in court and is unrepentant. Defense Ministry to seek compensation for suspect oilsWe just had an oil scandal a month ago. This one is bigger. One of the firms involved is the well-known brand Wei Chuan, which is part of the same conglomerate as Ting Hsin. Once again, the KMT news organ:
The oil scandal is so useful. The oil companies are scapegoated for all the food sins of Taiwanese firms, the meat packed with antibiotics, the fraudulent organic food, the pears from Dongshih sold as Lishan pears, the rice noodles that aren't rice...
and when was the last time you read an article on the wiretapping issue? Gone from the news. Never mind the stagnant incomes, the capital gains tax, the land tax... modern Establishment media is so useful, if it didn't exist, it would have to be invented.
On October 9, Wei resigned as chairman of three companies under the Ting Hsin International Group, i.e., Wei Chuan Foods Corporation, Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co., and Cheng-I Food Co., Ltd.Wei Chuan ejected itself from the last scandal (Oil Theatre) by yanking products from the shelves, but can't do anything about this one.
In fact, before Wei announced the suspension of Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co. (頂新製油) and Cheng-I Food Co., Kaohsiung City’s Department of Health had already ordered that the production lines of two companies be suspended pending further investigation.
Apple Daily has been featuring angry and potentially explosive anonymous letters from the Angry Citizen, as the Taipei Times reports:
The two top government leaders’ response to the scandal was also published in yesterday’s issue of the Chinese-language Apple Daily, in which Ma said: “It only hurts our feelings, not our bodies,” and Jiang said: “Like every one of you, I’m worried about food safety, so in my home, we use only imported olive oil.”The interesting thing here is the last paragraph. The last go-round of tainted oil didn't seem to have the power to make a political impact, but like Angry Citizen, people are connecting the dots. Rex How, the former Ma government advisor turned sane, has called for a boycott of the Ting Hsin group.
“The responses from both of you to these incidents have flabbergasted the public, hurting not only their feelings, but also their physical health,” the citizen said.
The citizen went on to accuse the government of not doing enough to punish law-breaking businesspeople and not alleviating people’s concerns about food safety in Taiwan.
The citizen expanded their complaints to the government’s missteps over the past few years in terms of economic development, social order, labor rights and information security.
Former national policy adviser Rex How (郝明義) yesterday urged Taiwanese to boycott media subsidiaries of Ting Hsin International Group, including recently established 4G mobile provider Taiwan Star Telecom and possible acquisition cable TV operator China Network Systems (CNS), over the embattled conglomerate’s involvement in a series of food safety scandals.How said that most of the group's revenues come from its China business (China suspended imports of its oil) so the boycott some are calling for won't have much effect. The government made its usual promises to crack down... but remember, there's an election next month. Will this affect the election? If Angry Citizen keeps filling Apple Daily's front page with the shameful state of the government's regulation of the food processing industry, it just might. People are angry here.
Yet, it's not like food scandals are happening in a vacuum. Everything is this way in Taiwan, from the corner-cutting in construction to the widespread tax evasion to the blithe neglect of bad drivers to the enormous underground economy, with its factories, retail establishments, hotels, and banks, all illegal. We all participate in it, and we all take advantage of it. Does the public want to see this paradise of lax legal enforcement curtailed, have it own behavior inspected?
I doubt it.
- The sheer awesomeness of this error demands respect:
The People’s Republic of China on Taiwan celebrated its 103rd anniversary of independence this week with a special reception ceremony and concert at the St. Kitts Eco Park in Sandy Point
- Ben G at CPI blog on Taiwan's Digital Democracy
- Aussie Academic calls for Australian support for Taiwan against Chinese hegemonic drive
- Synapticism: A trip to the misty mountains of Lugu (images)
- Party paid for voters to vote in 2008 election.
- Lee Guan Yew of Singapore says Taiwan's annexation to China is inevitable.
- Ninth national park to open in Penghu
- Rule of Law in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan
- Chinese skip Hong Kong, vacation in Taiwan instead.
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!