TAIPEI - Kong Yen Biotech Co. Ltd. (Kong Yen, 台灣工研), one of the biggest and most famous food manufacturers in Taiwan and owners of the "Gassho" brand held a press conference yesterday acknowledging its involvement in the polluted oil case, apologising to consumers and promising to recall all affected products as soon as possible.
Kong Yen explained that it was because Chung Guann Co. Ltd. (強冠公司) had earned government certification that the company outsourced production of its Gassho lard products to Chung Guann. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Chung Guann produced 4,611 barrels of Gassho lard for Kong Yen.
In addition, the Taipei Department of Health (DOH) also issued Kong Yen with a NT$3 million (S$125,700) fine on Sept. 7 due to its unwillingness to provide procurement details to avoid inspection based on the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.
Kong Yen Deputy General Manager Li Shu-ling (李淑鈴) said that after learning that Chung Guann had brought in polluted oil to produce food products, Kong Yen started to recall affected products. According to company records, Kong Yen had already recalled 787 barrels before Sept. 6. In addition, it will keep tracking the rest of the products.
Li also said that the company is sorry for causing this trouble due to its carelessness in checking the materials. She also stated that Chung Guann had always provided certificates and examination details that showed no sign that its products were problematic.
In addition, she also explained to the DOH that it is because the company's procurement details are complicated that they cannot be provided in a short period.
"We did not mean to delay the inspection on purpose and we are willing to help the DOH if they require further information," said Li.
Kong Yen pointed out that it has cooperated with Chung Guann since 2012. The company also visited Chung Guann's factory to inspect manufacturing last year. Kong Yen emphasised that it did not expect this kind of issue.
Famous Snack Shop Refunds Millions
As it is the Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, many customers bought traditional moon cakes to celebrate. However, many of the traditional snack shops are also affected by the polluted oil issue.
Famous traditional snack shop Li Gu (李鵠餅店) pointed out that many customers have come to the shop to return moon cakes in the past two days. Total refunds have reached millions of New Taiwan dollars.
Between Sept. 7 and 11, Li Gu will not sell any products but will instead focus on recalling all affected products and refunding its customers. Li Chang Fu-chih (李張富枝), owner of the shop, said she is also one of the victims in this case and she feels helpless facing this kind of situation.
Li Gu stated that customers can take their receipts from March 1 to Sept. 4 to the shop for a refund. Customers can also call 02-24278007 if they have any further inquiries.