Written by 13:08 World

Cooking Oil in Dirty Fuel Tankers? Report Raises Alarms in China.

The Chinese government said it would start a food-safety investigation after public outrage followed a news report that a tanker truck carried liquefied coal and was then immediately used to transport cooking oil.

Last week, The Beijing News, which has a reputation as one of mainland China’s boldest newspapers, reported that it had witnessed a tanker truck previously used to transport industrial coal oil being loaded with soybean oil. The tanker was not sterilized between the loads, according to the newspaper, which said the episode took place in late May in Yanjiao, in Hebei, near Beijing.

Several truckers interviewed for the piece said that often tankers were not cleaned before being loaded with cooking oil, sugar or other substances to be taken to wholesalers and other businesses. Cleaning a tanker takes several hours and costs at least $40.

In the past two decades, China has repeatedly dealt with food safety concerns, including infant formula laced with melamine and cooking oil being recycled for continued use, a practice commonly known as using “gutter oil.”

In a statement published Wednesday, the Chinese State Council Commission on Food Safety said that the authorities would investigate the newspaper’s report. “Illegal enterprises and relevant responsible persons will be severely punished in accordance with the law,” it said, adding that it would also study the safety risks in the cooking oil.

A commentary in The People’s Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, posted on Monday on its official WeChat account, said that food safety was of “paramount importance.” It continued: “We must consistently adhere to the strictest standards, the strictest supervision, the harshest penalties, and the most serious accountability, without any slackening or complacency at any time.”

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Last modified: 11 July 2024
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