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Cooking Oil Resale 'Recipe for Disaster'
Government chiefs yesterday reiterated a ban on the recycling of used edible oil after reports that a McDonald's restaurant in Wuhan had sold its discarded oil for re-use.

An official report into allegations has concluded that McDonald's breached the ban in March when selling waste cooking oil to peddlers, who then resold it to small restaurants.

The re-use of the oil put citizens in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, at risk because it had been used repeatedly at high temperatures.

Civic leaders acted immediately to stamp out the illegal practice, according to the recent State Council document.

The Ministry of Health, the State General Administration of Industry and Commerce, the State Environmental Protection Administration and the Ministry of Construction jointly issued the special decree under the guidance of the State Council.

All oil discarded by food production firms and restaurants can only be sold to special factories as raw materials for chemical products and must not be sold to other restaurants or consumers for use in cooking food, the decree said.

Waste oil is also prohibited from being discharged into the environment before it has been properly treated.

According to company rules of McDonald's, every one of its restaurants must sign an agreement with a local factory for the collection of waste oil. Its Wuhan branch said it had signed a deal with Wuhan Yizhihua Oil Chemical Industry Co Ltd.

But the agreement was not strictly carried out, the State Council said.

Wang Yang, manager of the Wuhan branch of McDonald’s, shouldered responsibility for the regulations breach and has been fired.

"It is an error made by McDonald's that has been rectified, and all waste oil is now being treated properly," said a spokeswoman for Wuhan McDonald's Food Co Ltd yesterday.

(China Daily April 18, 2002)

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