I interrupt my normal blogging to give you the latest news. Here is one article in English about this matter.
Are you as shocked as I am?
This comes just days after another scandal involving 'gutter oil' here in Taiwan. What's really newsworthy this time in both cases is that these scandals don't just involve small companies selling in night markets where you expect low prices and low quality. Even big corporations and 100 years old tea shops are taking part in this kind of deception. And these are not isolated cases. It is taking huge proportions. For tea, the report mentions 1200 tons of illegally imported Chinese tea. And this is just the tip of the iceberg: how many more tons haven't been discovered?
The problem in both cases, in my opinion, is not that these products should be banned altogether, but that they are not labelled properly. Even recycled oil can still have good uses (for fuel, detergents...). It just shouldn't be used in the food industry anymore. As for Chinese Oolongs, the law in Taiwan restricts the importation of such tea to protect the local growers. But if these teas are safe for consumption and are labelled as coming from China, there is no reason (except politics) why consumers shouldn't be able to choose these teas.
The incentive for these scandals is lower costs. This translates into lower prices and more market share for these firms. How do competitors react? They have to find ways to stay competitive. If deception isn't punished by consumers, then most of the industry resorts to one type or another of deception. So, be demanding when it comes to quality and learn to taste the difference!
Stories from a tearoom window
5 hours ago