Wed, Nov 19, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet rejects Ting Hsin cash

LOCAL MERITOCRACIES:The central government announced plans to use NT$1 billion each year to reward local governments that effectively police food safety

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Executive Yuan said yesterday that it would not be appropriate for it to receive NT$3 billion (US$97.6 million) that Ting Hsin International Group (頂新國際集團) has proposed to donate for the establishment of a food safety committee, calling on the corporation to prioritize the protection of the rights of its midstream and downstream food manufacturers.

Ting Hsin announced on Oct. 16 that it would donate NT$3 billion to fund a food safety committee, but Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that the Cabinet has not been contacted by anyone about the money and that it would also be inappropriate for the government to accept it.

Sun added that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) made it clear during a recent question-and-answer session at the legislature that the investigation into the corporation would not be affected by its donation plan, and that there is no equivalent exchange relationship between the proposed NT$3 billion donation and the amount of its unjust earnings, compensation to the affected manufacturers or a possible response to a potential collective lawsuit filed by consumer groups.

Sun said that because the investigation into Ting-Hsin’s alleged oil adulteration is ongoing, it would not be appropriate for the government to accept such a donation, “lest any unnecessary controversy be sparked.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Yuan also announced that NT$1 billion of the central government’s tax revenue would be distributed annually to reward local governments that effectively investigate and punishing manufacturers over breaching food safety regulations.

Those that have failed to “perform well” in that task might be subject to a reduction of project-oriented monetary aid from the central government, Sun said.

The Executive Yuan is currently mulling the proposed reward and punishment system, Sun said.

Sun said the Executive Yuan made the decision in order to “show the public the government’s determination in tackling food safety problems.”

The measures would help to “avoid the happenings [in recent food scandals] in which local governments failed to react to tip-offs from members of the public regarding food manufacturers that have been flaunting the government’s food safety regulations,” the Executive Yuan spokesperson said.

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