SEOUL: The president of one of South Korea’s largest dairy companies has resigned over a scandal in which his company was accused of deliberately spreading misinformation that its yogurt helps prevent coronavirus infection.
While stepping down as head of the company, Hong Won-sik and other members of his family will retain their commanding stake in Namiang Dairy Products.
Namyang aggressively promoted this research through the media and a seminar funded last month claimed that its Bulgaris yogurt drink was effective in reducing the risk of coronavirus infection.
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The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety stated before suing the company for false advertising that the research was questionable and not involved in any animal tests or clinical trials.
Police searched the Seoul headquarters in Namiang last week. Namiang CEO Lee Kwang-bum also offered to resign following a public uproar.
Hong said, “As we are going through a difficult time in the country because of COVID-19, I sincerely apologize for causing disappointment and anger to the people of our country with the disputes related to Bulgaria.”
He said he would take “all responsibility”, stepping down as chairman and promised not to pass on management rights for his children, which is a very critical practice in South Korea’s family-owned businesses.
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