Taiwan food contamination scandal: Scepticism over food safety funds pledged by Ting Hsin

TAIPEI - Executive personnel from the infamous Ting Hsin International Group yesterday responded to skepticism toward the company's promise to donate NT$3 billion (S$126 million) to create a so-called Food Safety Fund to take responsibility for their actions in the food contamination scandal.

A month ago, before the arrest of Ting Hsin's former CEO Wei Ying-chung, his brother Wei Ying-chiao and Ruentex Financial Group Chairman Samuel Yin held a joint press conference declaring that a donation of NT$3 billion would be made to establish the Food Safety Fund.

Following Wei Ying-chung's arrest and Wei Ying-chiao's renouncement of positions on Taipei 101's board of directors, a large proportion of the general public has voiced skepticism over the donation promise.

In response, Yin said on Nov. 15 that he has complete faith in the Wei's, stating that he believes in their integrity. However, Yin also recommended that the Wei family instead make the donation in its entirety to the government.

High ranking members of the company responded to the skepticism yesterday during an interview, stating that the company is absolutely sincere in its statements and will deliver on all of its promises. Responsibility for the matter has been tasked to Yin, the members said.

Local media reported that during the interview, the said members never directly answered to when the NT$3 billion would be delivered.

During a public event yesterday, Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford said that the government will observe the company carefully in the coming days to determine whether the promise is in fact credible. All consequential actions toward the company will then be decided following the government's review.

Several local news reports have speculated that the reason behind the delay in donations is likely due to the company's inability to raise the promised sum.

The company responded that the time it will take to raise the necessary funds is longer than a month. Should complications arise that prevent the establishment of the fund, the company said they will still donate the money to the public interest.

The company also stated that the promised NT$3 billion is not to come from Ting Hsin but from the Wei family.

Uni-President Clarifies Product Contamination

In related news, Uni-President Enterprises Co. yesterday held a press conference to clarify the contamination issue with their products.

The company's acting spokesman, Tu Chung-cheng, said during the conference that the company has purchased quality inspection equipment. The company's vice president Tony Su added that, unfortunately, the company is not able to inspect the sources of their suppliers.

Tu went on to say that the company understands its responsibilities, and will compensate their buyers accordingly. The company will also do its best to strengthen its security management by purchasing materials from guaranteed countries.