Posted March. 19, 2008 03:02,
Nongshim, a leading Korean snack manufacturer, received information back in mid-February that a spin-off of its famous shrimp chips, Saewookkang, contained what was believed to be a mouses head. However, the company allegedly suppressed the matter until it became public.
Though the company promised to recall all products related to the contamination, Nongshim only got rid of some of the suspected merchandise. Many believe that the company was trying to hide things by giving lip service.
A consumer in North Chungcheong Province reportedly bought a 400g Noraebang Saewookkang pack on Feb. 18. The buyer found a 16mm-long material with hair inside the pack and reported it to the company.
Nongshim imports the dough from its China factory in Qingdao and manufactures the snacks final packs in Korea. Under this process, the industry considers Noraebang Saewookkang as made in China. For other Saewookkang products such as spicy Saewookkang, the company uses dough prepared in Korea.
Nongshim took action like analyzing the foreign material discovered in the product. But the company hadnt done much until the Korea Food and Drug Administration publicly reported the issue.
The public is now accusing the company of knowingly selling snacks made from the same contaminated dough for nearly a month.
According to a statement issued by Nongshim CEO Sohn Wook, yesterday, the company made a false claim that it was recalling all snacks made from the same dough. In reality, the company collected only 25,719 boxes of the snack, which was manufactured around Jan. 31, when the Chungcheong resident reported the finding. Nongshim, nevertheless, produced 140,000 boxes of the product at its Busan plant.
A Nongshim representative explained, We were not sure whether the foreign object was actually part of the China dough and whether it was the head of a mouse. How could we pinpoint the snack packs for disposal?
The company is publicly promising tougher inspection over the entire manufacturing process. But a growing number of consumers are boycotting the companys products, dubbing Saewookkang not as shrimp chips, but as mouse`s head chips.