Uni-President Group, one of Taiwan’s major food conglomerates, said on Friday it had reached an agreement with local counterpart Ting Hsin International Group in a civil lawsuit related to tainted cooking lard.
The deal was ratified by Uni-President’s three subsidiaries – food brand Uni-President Enterprises Corp, 7-Eleven store operator President Chain Store Corp and starch and vegetable oil supplier President Nisshin Corp.
The subsidiaries together are to receive compensation of NT$170 million (US$5.29 million) from Ting Hsin for losses suffered in the 2014 incident.
After reviewing legal fees, the remaining NT$150 million is to be donated to public welfare causes, Uni-President Group said.
In 2014, it was discovered that Cheng I Food Co, a subsidiary of industry giant Ting Hsin, had used recycled oil and imported oil intended for animal feed in its oil products. cooking with lard.
The lard, imported from Vietnam and Hong Kong, was reported to customs as food grade fat to evade a 20% import duty on lard for human consumption and to avoid inspection by customs authorities, according to a court document.
The recycled petroleum products were used in products made by a group of local food suppliers, including the three subsidiaries of the Uni-President Group, resulting in losses. Ting Hsin faced civil and criminal lawsuits after the oil’s use was exposed and raised public concerns about food safety.
Uni-President Enterprises must distribute the compensation to charitable groups and non-profit organizations inside and outside the corporate group.
Charitable groups within the company that are expected to receive funding include the Uni-President Welfare Foundation, the Good Neighbor Foundation and the Taiwan Millennium Foundation, Uni-President Group said.
External nonprofit organizations include United Way of Taiwan and consumer protection groups, he said.
Uni-President Enterprises said it plans to buy computers to donate to schools in rural areas, as well as buying ambulances and wheelchairs for hospitals and related organizations.
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