DOH may help King Car seek compensation from China firm

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Cabinet-level Department of Health (DOH) will help King Car Food Industrial Co., Ltd. seek compensation from China-based Duqing Co. if the melamine-tainted coffee cream used by King Car proves to be sourced from the Chinese firm, a top health official said yesterday.

Yeh Chin-chuan, DOH minister, made the remarks in response to the arrival of Duqing’s representatives in Taipei to study test reports on tainted coffee cream allegedly offered by the firm. Yeh made the remarks while delivering a report on melamine contamination at the weekly meeting of the ruling Kuomingtang’s Central Standing Committee. The DOH minister said the exact source of the melamine contamination should be determined.

“While we say that Duqing is to blame for the melamine contamination, the Chinese side denies the allegation. Now that Duqing has dispatched representatives to come here, they can clearly check and see whether the raw materials they offer are tainted with melamine,” Yeh said. “If the the toxic chemical is really found in the raw materials offered by Duqing, then the DOH will assist King Car in seeking compensation for its losses from the Chinese firm, and will also request the Straights Exchange Foundation lend a helping hand to the local food maker.” In his report, Yeh also expressed hopes that a food and medicine management bureau should be set up under the DOH as soon as possible, to more effectively deal with food safety problems.

For the time being, the melamine contamination is coming to an end as a result of effective countermeasures taken by the DOH, including banning imports of China-made milk powder and coffee cream. Meanwhile, King Car spokesman Ma Ming-hao said yesterday evening that his company will follow DOH instructions on how to proceed with possible compensation from Duqing. King Car recently recalled 120,000 boxes of instant coffee products from retail stands, for a loss of up to NT$500 million, in addition to damage to their reputation that is hard to calculate, Ma said. Meanwhile, the DOH will host an international seminar in Taipei today to discuss the melamine contamination issue, with foreign food safety officials and experts invited to join the discussions. The DOH didn’t invite Duqing representatives to attend the seminar, but whether they are likely to contact participating experts remains to be seen, according to DOH spokesman Wang Tzer-chao. He declined to reveal detailed itineraries of the Duqing representatives.