Uni-President Group, one of Taiwan’s leading food conglomerates, said on Friday that it has reached a settlement with local counterpart Ting Hsin International Group in a civil lawsuit related to tainted cooking lard.
The agreement was ratified by Uni-President’s three subsidiaries — food brand Uni-President Enterprises Corp, 7-Eleven store operator President Chain Store Corp and starch and vegetable oil provider President Nisshin Corp.
The subsidiaries together are to receive compensation of NT$170 million (US$5.29 million) from Ting Hsin for losses incurred in the 2014 incident.
After legal expenses are considered, the remaining NT$150 million is to be donated to public welfare causes, Uni-President Group said.
Cheng I Food Co, a subsidiary of industry giant Ting Hsin, in 2014 was found to have used recycled oil and imported oil meant for animal feed in its lard-based cooking oil products.
The lard, imported from Vietnam and Hong Kong, was reported to customs as animal feed-grade fat to evade a 20 percent import duty on lard for human consumption, and to avoid inspection by customs authorities, a court document showed.
The recycled oil products were used in products made by a group of local food suppliers, including the three subsidiaries of Uni-President Group, resulting in losses. Ting Hsin faced civil and criminal lawsuits after the oil’s use came to light and raised public concerns over food safety.
Uni-President Enterprises is to distribute the compensation to charity groups and non-profit organizations inside and outside the business group.
Charity groups inside the business expected to receive funding include the Uni-President Welfare Foundation, the Good Neighbor Foundation and the Taiwan Millennium Foundation, Uni-President Group said.
External non-profit organizations include the United Way of Taiwan and consumer protection groups, it said.
Uni-President Enterprises said it plans to buy computers to be donated to schools in rural areas, as well as purchase ambulances and wheelchairs for hospitals and related organizations.
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