Dairy associations sue magazine to regain public trust

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Dec 15, 2013 - Page 3

Two dairy associations filed a lawsuit on Friday against the Chinese-language Business Weekly, seeking NT$10 million (US$337,472) in compensation for lost sales caused by the magazine’s report that banned drugs were present in milk.

Dairy Association Taiwan secretary-general Fang Ching-chuan (方清泉) and Dairy Farmer Association president Hung Chang-chin (洪長進) filed the suit at the Taipei District Court.

The two associations said that while they suffered an estimated loss of NT$200 million, the main focus of the legal action was to regain consumer trust in milk.

Aside from the NT$10 million sought in compensation, which the groups said would be donated to charity if they win the case, the associations also want the magazine to place an advertisement in major newspapers apologizing for its report.

Their third demand is that the weekly run an article of equal prominence and length to the original to clarify and balance out the report that caused so much damage.

The dairy groups also plan to file a defamation complaint with the Shihlin District Prosecutors’ Office tomorrow against Chen Liang-yu (陳良宇), the Ming Chuan University biotechnology professor who was commissioned by the weekly to test nine milk samples for contaminants.

The Nov. 20 report said veterinary drugs, including antibiotics, as well as estrogen, tranquilizers and antidepressants, were found in 70 percent of the milk products tested by Chen, sparking a milk scare across the country.

Business Weekly later issued a statement offering an apology for causing food safety concerns.

After the report surfaced, the government conducted its own tests on the different types of milk examined by the magazine, and found all of the products to be safe and in compliance with national standards.