More than 4,000 students and teachers to be compensated for Taiwan food safety scandal

Tainted oil from Chang Guann turned up in food at 22 schools in 2014

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CPAT presents the results of its food safety compensation case against Chang Kuann. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A total of 4,048 students and teachers can soon expect to receive between NT$3,000 (US$98) and NT$9,000 each as compensation for the consumption of tainted cooking oil from Chang Guann (強冠企業).

Starting in 2013, Taiwan fell into the grip of a series of food safety scandals, most of them centering on companies passing off oil products of lower quality or even unfit for human consumption as high-grade cooking oil.

Last September, Chang Guann Chairman Yeh Wen-hsiang (葉文祥) attempted suicide after receiving a final sentence of 22 years in prison for selling tainted lard to more than 200 food companies.

The Consumer Protection Association of Taiwan (CPAT, 台灣消費者保護協會) filed a class action suit on behalf of pupils, teachers and other staff at 22 schools, from kindergartens to senior high schools across the nation, where food had been served containing ingredients supplied by Chang Guann, the Central News Agency reported.

At a news conference Wednesday, CPAT announced that following three years of legal procedures, a total of more than NT$24.4 million (US$800,500) had been wired into its accounts. The plaintiffs would receive their compensation by the end of the month, the group said.

A total of 3,811 plaintiffs had agreed to a settlement, which provided them with NT$6,000 each, while 160 people accepted a court verdict and received from NT$6,000 to NT$9,000 per person. A final group of 77 people continued the court case until the end and received NT$3,000 per person, CNA reported.

CPAT said that even though the outcome was a far cry from the NT$90,000 (US$2,950) per person it had originally demanded, it was still satisfied that the victims of the scandal were able to receive compensation.