Retailers boycott Vedan products

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Saigon Co-op and Big C supermarket chains said they have stopped selling products of Vedan, a Taiwanese MSG manufacturer whose environmental practices have caught the attention of the entire country.

Saigon Co-op said the chain began pulling Vedan's seasonings from their shelves starting Thursday. Sales will not resume until Vedan solves the pollution problem and satisfactorily compensates local farmers, it said.

The supermarket gives priority to environmentally-friendly companies, said Nguyen Thanh Nhan, deputy general director of the Ho Chi Minh City-based retailer, which owns 45 supermarkets nationwide.

Another retailer, Big C, said it has ceased selling Vedan products in several outlets in the northern and central regions. Meanwhile, Citimart said the products did not sell well due to a consumer boycott.

From 1994 until 2008, Vedan's plant in the southern province of Dong Nai dumped 105 million liters of untreated wastewater a month into the Thi Vai river through a secret pipe system.

A government-authorized study found that Vedan had caused serious environmental damage to the region. Researchers from the Institute of Environment and Natural Resources called for the company to pay a total of VND1,698.7 billion in restitution to farmers in Dong Nai Province, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and Ho Chi Minh City.

Vedan, however, has deliberately delayed and prolonged the case without good reason, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources said last month.

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