Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday that the Cabinet had not been addressed about a proposed NT$3 billion (US$97.6 million) donation to set up a food safety fund in the aftermath of food scares over the past few months.
“These are all just reports by the media,” Jiang said while campaigning for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates in Keelung, his hometown.
If such donations have been made to a fund set up by the embattled Ting Hsin International Group (頂新國際集團), which has been at the center of a spate of cooking oil scandals, the money would be used for risk studies and helping consumers fight for their legal rights, and not for paying compensation to complainants or for business litigation, Jiang said.
He also said that Ting Hsin should prioritize covering any legal damages borne by its mid- and downstream business clients and for protecting consumer rights.
Amid rising calls to “wipe Ting Hsin from Taiwan’s industrial sector,” the Wei (魏) brothers, who own Ting Hsin group, last month asked Ruentex Group chairman Samuel Yin (尹衍樑) to guarantee their pledge to donate NT$3 billion to establish a food safety fund.
A news conference was held on Oct. 16 to make that announcement and to announce that the group also asked Yin to invite professionals to form a food safety reform committee, which Yin vowed to do within a month.
However, with the one-month period now passed, Ting Hsin has yet to provide any money, triggering more skepticism about the group’s intentions.
Yin said on Saturday that he is considering quitting his role as a guarantor and suggested that the Wei brothers donate the money to the Ministry of Health and Welfare instead.
According to Yin, Ting Hsin is sincere about funding the committee, but said that it needed some time because it was facing a cash crunch.
A Ting Hsin International Group spokesman said the company would talk to Yin to better understand the problems he has faced in forming a food safety foundation before deciding what to do.
“After we are sure of what Yin is thinking, we will report to the public on follow-up matters related to the donation,” the spokesman said.
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