Taiwan food scandal: Class action suit over tainted oil to be filed before Dec

Yeh Wen-hsiang, chairman of Chang Guann Co, apologised for a food scandal and drank a cup of his company's cooking oil to prove its safety on Sept 11, 2014.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Executive Yuan will work with the Consumers' Foundation (CF) and the Consumer Protection Association of Taiwan (CPAT) to support consumers who were affected by the tainted oil scandal and file a class action lawsuit on their behalf before the end of November, said Department of Consumer Protection Director-General Liu Chin-fang yesterday.

The Executive Yuan invited officials from the new food safety office, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Environmental Protection Administration as well as other relevant authorities to hold a press conference to explain follow-up measures in the tainted oil case. During the conference it was announced that a lawsuit will soon be filed to protect consumers' rights.

Based on the Consumer Protection Law, when there are over 20 consumers affected as the result of the same incident, a consumer protection group can file a lawsuit on behalf of the victims. The Executive Yuan has already contacted two major local consumer protection groups to look into the case.

Liu also said that the CPAT will mainly be in charge of the case of lunch boxes provided to elementary schools and junior high schools. As for the case related to Ting Hsin International Group, Chang Guann Co. and Bei-hai Oil, three major oil companies involved in the tainted oil scandal, Liu stated that the CF is still researching the case since there are many people affected by it.

In addition, Liu also stressed that the government plans to compile a budget next year for the fees needed to file a class action lawsuit. The financial subsidies for filing class action lawsuits will be paid by the central food safety agency after it is established next year.

Other than the class action lawsuit, the Executive Yuan also stressed the new management measures for collecting used oil as well as importing oil products, saying that several systems have been set up to guarantee the quality of imported oil and keep track of used oil.

Uni-President Launches Promotion

Uni-President Enterprises Corporation yesterday launched special promotions as compensation for selling tainted oil in 2012, saying that a total of 14 products will have a buy-one-get-two-free promotion from Nov. 24 until Dec. 7.

During this period, people who buy these products can receive two coupons for the same product. With these coupons, people can get free products from Jan. 1 until Feb. 28 in 2015. The 14 products include Uni-President pudding, Uni-President milk ice cream and bakery products.

In addition, if consumers still hold receipts for affected products from 2012, they can take these to 7-Eleven convenience stores for a double refund.

According to Uni-President acting spokesman Tu Chung-cheng, although most affected products are no longer on the market, Uni-President has still launched the special promotion, hoping to express its apologies for selling tainted oil in the past.