A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator yesterday said that despite having signed a cross-strait food safety agreement three years ago, Taiwanese importers of melamine-contaminated milk powder from China have still not been compensated.
A cross-strait food safety agreement was signed on Nov. 4, 2008, following an incident in September that year in which a 25 tonne shipment of Sanlu-brand milk powder imported from China was found to be contaminated with melamine, prompting a food scare in Taiwan.
Milk powders, creamers and other milk-derived products from China that were found to contain melamine were removed from stores at considerable expense to the suppliers.
At a press conference yesterday, DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said 12 Taiwanese importers had asked for a total of NT$700 million (US$23.3 million) in compensation, but as yet none has been forthcoming.
Tien said the importers were informed by the Chinese authorities in July last year that Shandong Duqing Co, the company which produced the tainted milk power, had been closed down in August 2008. Furthermore, victims in China had already claimed compensation and all of the company’s assets had been used to fund those payments.
Chinese Human Rights Concern Alliance Taiwan president Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏) said the government has made no effort to assist the Taiwanese importers with their compensation claims and some importers dare not continue to ask for compensation because they think their businesses in China might be affected if they do.
“The government signed the food safety accord with a ‘thief,’” Yang said.
Tien said that when she spoke with the importers, some even asked her not to make the names of their companies public over fears that China would exact some sort of revenge.