[時事英文] 2014 Taiwan Food Scandal: Gutter Oil (餿水油食安事件)



Keywords:
cooking oil (n.) 食用油
tainted (adj.) 汙染的;感染的;腐敗的
leather cleaner (n.) 皮革清潔劑
processed (adj.) 經過加工的;處理過的
lard (n.) 豬油
gutter oil (n.) 地溝油
distributor (n.) 經銷商 ; 批發商
restaurant fryers (n.) 餐廳炸鍋
sewer drain (n.) 汙水下水道
grease trap (n.) 油脂隔離器
slaughterhouse waste (n.) 屠宰場的廢料
filter (v.) 過濾
refine (v.) 提煉;精製
economic incentive (n. phr.) 經濟誘因
toxic (adj.) 有毒的
diarrhea (n.) 腹瀉
abdominal pain (n.) 腹痛
liver cancer (n.) 肝癌
developmental disability (n. phr.) 發展障礙
newborn (n.) 新生兒
organic pollutant (n. phr.) 有機污染物
reel from (v. phr.) 受…的不好影響
in the wake of (phr.) 繼…之後,緊隨著 (指一件事情已告一段落,進入另一境界)
scare (n.) 驚恐
tarnished (adj.) 有汙點的
allegedly (adv.) 據宣稱
aimed at (v. phr.) 把……瞄準
blanket (adj.) 適用於所有情況的
issuing body (n.) 發證機構

On September 4, 2014, it was discovered that tainted cooking oil was being produced by Chang Guann Corporation. The Kaohsiung-based company was found to have blended cooking oil with recycled oil, grease, and leather cleaner. It then allegedly refined the waste oil before mixing it with processed lard. The tainted oil, often referred to as “gutter oil" in Taiwan, was then sold to hundreds of distributors.

Gutter oil is a term used to describe cooking oil that has been recycled from waste oil collected from sources such as restaurant fryers, sewer drains, grease traps, and slaughterhouse waste. The oil is then filtered, boiled, and refined before being packaged and resold as a cheaper alternative to normal cooking oil. Used kitchen oil can be purchased for between 859 and 937 dollars per ton while the cleaned and refined product can sell for 1,560 per ton. Hence, there is great economic incentive to produce and sell gutter oil.

Gutter oil has been shown to be very toxic, and can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. There are also reports that long-term consumption of the oil can lead to stomach and liver cancers as well as developmental disabilities in newborns and children. Testing of some samples of gutter oil has revealed traces of dangerous organic pollutants that are capable of causing cancer with long-term consumption.

Taiwan was already reeling from a cooking oil safety scandal last year. In the wake of the newest cooking oil scare, hundreds of tons of mooncakes, pineapple cakes, bread, instant noodles and steamed dumplings have been removed from shelves. According to the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration, more than a 1000 restaurants, bakeries and food plants across the island had used the tainted oil.

The scandal has severely tarnished the image of Taiwanese food processing industry. What has angered consumers is that companies using the tainted cooking oil had allegedly received the so-called Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate–a food health and safety mark that is aimed at assuring consumers of the quality of the consumable item. But the label, which provides a blanket certification to manufacturers, has come under criticism. Its issuing body, the Taiwan Food Good Manufacturing Practice Development Association (TFGMPDA) has issued a public apology.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gutter_oil
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Taiwan_food_scandal
http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-taiwan-gutter-oil-scandal-spreads-to-hong-kong-2014-9
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/09/13/taiwan-executive-detained-gutter-oil-food-safety-scandal-deepens
http://time.com/3300093/taiwan-gutter-oil-hong-kong-chang-guann-maxims-cakes-starbucks-7-eleven/
http://www.prweek.com/article/1311617/taiwan-food-safety-reputation-crisis
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2014/09/05/2003599041

Image source: http://www.financetwitter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/China-Food-Scandal-Chang-Guann-Drum-of-Gutter-Oil.jpg

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