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Fujian distributors to file suit against Changchi

TAIPEI--Several major edible oil distributors in China's coastal Fujian province will file a cross-border lawsuit against Changchi Foodstuff Factory Co., the company at the heart ofan edible oil scandal rocking Taiwan, a lawyer said yesterday.

Lawyer Tsai Wen-pin, who is representing the companies in the Chinese city of Xiamen, said he would file the suit on Tuesday and seek damages of at least NT$5.3 million (US$179,580).

Of that, NT$1.9 million is for inventory losses, while 700,000 Chinese yuan (US$115,000) of the sum is for damage to the reputations of the companies.

Their request for compensation could go up. Tsai said the distributors have not yet given him a final figure on their losses as they are still seeing returns on Changchi products from customers.

He said he would wait until the end of the oral proceedings to make a final claim.

Tsai previously said that there have been few instances of cross strait lawsuits as it is difficult to demand compensation.

“Realistically speaking, the assets of the manufacturer in question have been frozen. Even if we win the case, it would be difficult for us to pursue compensation,” Tsai admitted.

Changchi was found in mid-October to be mixing cottonseed oil and other cheap oils in its more expensive grapeseed and olive oil products. In some cases, it used copper chlorophyllin, a coloringagent, to make the substitutes look more like olive oil.

Other oil suppliers later found to be selling similarly adulterated oil include Flavor Full Foods Inc., Formosa Oilseed Processing Co., and Wei Chuan Foods Corp.

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