Korea’s number one rice cake manufacturer, Songhak Foods, brought shock to the Korean public when it was revealed on July 6 that the company had been distributing rice cakes containing E.coli and harmful pesticides to large marts and franchises from last June to January of this year. The amount of food distributed amounts to 18 billion won (approx. 16 million USD). Some sources state the contaminated food was distributed for a period of two years.
Despite the rice cakes having tested positive for E.coli and poisonous substances and being deemed unfit for distribution, Songhak Foods, in January of 2013, fabricated records for HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) approval.
Moreover, when approximately 2,500 bags of rice in storage by the company produced large amounts of caterpillars last August, the insects were exterminated with pesticides, after which the rice was used as normal. Even after Songhak was ordered to halt production and sales by a local government body, they simply switched packaging, reports The Kyunghyang Shinmun.
Joseilbo quotes one police affiliate, who stated, “One company that received a delivery of 2700kg of rice cakes [from Songhak] conducted their own tests and saw that there were large traces of E.coli in the food and returned it all. However, instead of getting rid of the food, they passed it on to welfare facilities.”
The president of the company and 13 others have been booked without detention for violation of food sanitation laws.
According to MBC “News Desk,” Songhak foods has been number one in the rice cake and tteokbokki niche for the past three years, boasting annual sales reaching 50 billion won (approx. 44 million USD).
Currently, Songhak Foods’ website is down due to a huge influx of traffic.