Universal Robina Corp., the food unit of the Gokongwei family, on Tuesday said it is committed to cooperating and complying with Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MOH), after its popular C2 iced tea and Rong Do (Red Dragon) energy drinks were allegedly found to contain excessive levels of lead.
In a statement URC said that it is “fully aware” of the Vietnam’s MOH decision to recall three batches of products manufactured by the URC facility in Hanoi, which is one of its four facilities in Vietnam.
“We are highly supportive of URC Vietnam’s immediate compliance and desire to cooperate with the Vietnam MOH. URC is also fully aligned with the health authorities’ mandate to protect consumer health wherever it operates,” URC said in a statement.
Further, the Philippine-based food company through its unit in Vietnam has urged Vietnam’s MOH to undertake proactive measures including alignment on a common testing protocol and regular monitoring/checks of its products at its production site by the MOH itself.
URC said it is confident these measures will help the authorities in the exercise of their mandate.
“URC is committed to be in full compliance with product safety standards and to manufacture products that are of the highest quality, as they have always been throughout the years. We shall be reaching out proactively to our customers and partners to assure them of this fact as well as answer questions they may have regarding the development in Vietnam,” URC said.
In one of Vietnam’s news websites, Thanhniennews.com, it was reported that Vietnam’s Food Administration collected samples of two Philippine beverage brands sold by URC Hanoi Company, C2 and Rong Do, to test for lead content following speculations of its allegedly poor quality went viral via the social media.
Nguyen Thanh Phong, director of the agency, said he has sought early results of the tests on green tea C2 and energy drink Rong Do made by Universal Robina Corporation because it is “a hot issue on social networks.”
As early as May 7, speculations against the safe consumption of specific C2 and Rong Do products have been circulating in the social media, which were allegedly containing high levels of lead, a Vietnam-based newspaper Tuoi Tre, reported.
The news report revealed that a sample of citric acid, commonly used as an acidity regulator in beverages, taken from the company was found to have lead content of 0.84 mg/kg versus he permitted limit of 0.5 mg/kg, without providing further details.
The newspaper reported that this year, Vietnam’s MOH is likewise set to test products made by Coca-Cola Vietnam, Suntory PepsiCo Vietnam Beverage, and Wonderfarm.