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Tainted Meal Provider Will Stay Open

Posted June. 27, 2006 03:17,   


CJ Food System, which is involved in the worst school meal service scandal in years due to a food poisoning incident has announced that it would halt its food catering service.

Lee Chang-geun, a representative of the CJ Food System, held a press conference on June 26 and stated that the company will take full responsibility as the company in charge of providing meals to the schools concerned, whatever the reason of the incident, and that it will withdraw its food catering business for 93 elementary, middle and high schools and 35 universities.

CJ Food System has decided to donate 22 billion won worth of food catering facilities it has invested in to the certain schools free of charge and to teach the school staff menu and recipes.

Also, CJ Food System will station nutritionists at the schools until they can get direct control over the meal service, and pay for all personnel expenses.

CJ will bear all the medical expenses of the students who got treatment for the food poisoning as well.

But CJ has announced that it will continue its food catering business and food ingredient distribution business to companies and hospitals excluding schools.

CJ Food System’s sales in 2005 were 618.3 billion won. Its food ingredient distribution business (348.9 billion won, 56.4%) and food catering business (197.7 billion won, 32.0%) constitute 90% of its sales.

The sales of the food catering service which CJ has decided to give up are 67.2 billion won and account for only 10.9% of the total.

Representative Lee stressed that it is not easy for them to abandon its business accounting for 10% of its sales and that it has made that decision not because the business was a liability for the company, but in a sense of introspection.

CJ went on to say that it plans to re-inspect its sanitation and distribution management system for food ingredients and establish more rigorous sanitation standard packages than the current law.

However, there is criticism that the countermeasure was just a stopgap as patients with food poisoning-like symptoms are being reported not only from the schools but also from four private companies and some public ones CJ Food System has been providing the meal service to.