Instant noodles pulled from shelves: Uni-President used Vietnamese tallow

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Nineteen instant noodle products from Uni-President Enterprises Corporation were pulled from shelves yesterday for containing tallow from Vietnam, following the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) issuance of a preventive recall on Oct 22; Vietnam officials have not yet proven that these oil products are edible.

Uni-President group reported to Tainan City's Department of Health that 19 beef-flavored instant noodle products, including the brands Lai Yi Ke, Man Han Da Tsan and spicy oden packs sold in 7-Eleven convenience stores, contain Vietnamese tallow products that have not been certified safe for human consumption.

Uni-President group reported that it bought a total of 5.57 tons of refined tallow products from Ting Hsin Oil & Fat Industrial Co., which allegedly contain non-edible oil from Vietnam, on June 10 this year and used the oil to produce their beef-flavored sauce in their instant noodles, according to the FDA.

Originally, Uni-President group was buying tallow from President Nisshin Corp., the oil manufacturer under Uni-President group. However, as production broke down this June, President Nisshin could not provide enough tallow products and asked Mitsubishi Corporation to order it, eventually ending up with Ting Hsin's tallow products.

Chiang Yu-mei, acting director-general of the FDA, stressed that this batch of tallow products was the only one used in Uni-President group's food products and the FDA has already demanded that the company pull all affected products from shelves because it is still unclear whether the products are edible.

Along with Uni-President group's instant noodle products, the FDA also revealed 23 items from 14 other food manufacturers made from Ting Hsin's tallow products. These products have to be recalled before 12.00 a.m. today.

Responses from Uni-President Group

Compensation will be paid as soon as authorities confirm that the Vietnamese tallow products are not safe for human consumption, according to a statement released by Uni-President group.

The company also stated that it had already stopped selling questionable products and will cooperate with health departments to clarify matters.

The statement also said that customers can ask for refunds from 7-Eleven stores using their receipts if they bought questionable products, including instant noodles and oden packs. Since receipts do not mark the flavor of oden pack, all receipts for oden packs are refundable.

Uni-President group also stressed that the time and steps for the refund will soon be announced to customers.