Taiwan tycoon resigns over food safety scandal

Opposition lawmakers display placards demanding Premier Jiang Yih-hua (left) apologise for the gutter oil scandal before his speech during the new parliament session in Taipei on Sept 12, 2014. The head of a leading Taiwanese food company resign
Opposition lawmakers display placards demanding Premier Jiang Yih-hua (left) apologise for the gutter oil scandal before his speech during the new parliament session in Taipei on Sept 12, 2014. The head of a leading Taiwanese food company resigned on Thursday after his firm was implicated in a string of food safety scandals that resulted in hundreds of tonnes of products being pulled from shelves. -- PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI (AFP) - The head of a leading Taiwanese food company resigned on Thursday after his firm was implicated in a string of food safety scandals that resulted in hundreds of tonnes of products being pulled from shelves.

Wei Yin-chun stepped down as chairman of Wei Chuan Foods Corp, the Taiwanese unit of food giant Ting Hsin International Group which owns popular instant noodle brand Master Kong, a statement said.

"Chairman Wei is deeply saddened and blames himself over the food safety incidents. Even though the incidents may have originated from problematic materials from the suppliers, he expresses heartfelt apologies for being unable to effectively manage the origin," the company statement said.

Wei also resigned from his posts as head of Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial as well as Cheng I Food, which is at the centre of a fresh food safety scandal.

The authorities on Thursday ordered Cheng I, also a Ting Hsin subsidiary, to recall more than 60 types of lard, cooking oil and margarine over claims that the products were adulterated with oil intended for animal feed.

Wei Chuan was among the companies that removed products from sale in a damaging "gutter oil" scandal last month.

Wei Chuan also recalled tens of thousands of bottles of cooking oil adulterated with a banning colouring agent in 2013.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah on Thursday ordered a "swift and strict" investigation into the allegations against Cheng I, according to a government statement.

So far prosecutors have arrested a man for allegedly supplying Cheng I with feed oil falsely labelled as lard.

Taiwan's health minister Chiu Wen-da resigned over the "gutter oil" scandal, while the opposition Democratic Progressive Party called for Jiang's resignation and an apology from President Ma Ying-jeou.