The chairman of a major South Korean dairy company yesterday stepped down after police launched an investigation into the company’s assertion that its yogurt drink was effective in fighting COVID-19.
Namyang Dairy Product Co Ltd chairman Hong Won-sik’s resignation came three weeks after the initial claim and its retraction. The sacking of the chief executive did little to calm a consumer backlash.
“I will resign from Namyang Dairy’s chairman position to take responsibility for all of this and I will not pass on management to my children,” Hong said in a televised public apology.
Photo: Hwang Gang-mo, Yonhap via AP
Hong and his family members have a combined stake of 53.1 percent of South Korea’s No. 3 dairy firm by revenue, company regulatory filings showed.
Officials at Namyang Dairy could not be immediately reached for comment.
Seoul police last week raided the company’s headquarters.
The firm claimed at a forum attended by reporters last month that its yogurt drink effectively prevented COVID-19, sending its stock surging nearly 30 percent.
The South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety subsequently issued a statement saying that Namyang had no evidence to support its claim, and accused the company of illegally spreading misleading information.
Namyang Dairy Product Co shares yesterday closed up 9.52 percent in Seoul trading.
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