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Founder of Tripod King admits he lied about factory claim

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Tripod King founder Chen Shu-ming (陳世明) admitted to lying about creating a salt factory for a barbecue restaurant under the same dining group, Taichung City Government's Health Bureau said yesterday.

Chen was called in for questioning by the bureau after a local media reported that Yan Syuan barbecue restaurant, a store that is owned by Tripod King, did not have its own slat factory as the restaurant claimed on its official website.

Chiu Hui-tzu, the head of the Food and Drug Administration Section of Taichung City Government's Health Bureau, said that Chen admitted during questioning that the dining group did not build a NT$10 million salt factory as it claimed.

According to Chiu, Chen could also not propose any evidence to prove that the amount of sodium contained in the type of salt used in the restaurant is lower than the standard salt on the market.

According to the Health Bureau, Tripod King provided the information about the salt the restaurant imported, but the dining group provided false information on its eight official websites and menus, so the bureau handed out a NT$1.8 million fine to Tripod King.

The bureau also gave out another NT$1 million fine to Tripod King for not providing correct information, which brought the total amount of fines for the dining group to NT$2.8 million yesterday.

Chen issued a press release yesterday, saying that the salt Yan Syuan barbecue restaurant uses is high in quality and is selected in order to let customers have the best dining experience.

The press release also stated that local media reports about the salt simply highlighted administrative negligence by Tripod King's management team, and Tripod King sincerely apologized for the issue.

As for the ingredients and meat that Tripod King's restaurants use, according to the press release, all come from safe and high-quality sources and Tripod King did not purchase low-quality ingredients in order to receive higher profits.

Tripod King was fined NT$200,000 on Feb. 27 for false advertising by the Tainan City Government for violating Article 28 in the Act Governing Food Sanitation.

The hot pot restaurant claims that its stock was made by mixing up to 32 Chinese herbal ingredients. However, it confessed later that its menu, which boasts 32 herbal ingredients, was “untruthful” and “exaggerated.” The government has requested that Tripod King update its menu and stop misleading customers. If the restaurant fails to comply, it will be fined for each violation in the future.

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