Mooncake health rumors dismissed

Top News | Charlotte Luo 11 Sep 2019

Taipan Bread and Cake has dismissed rumors circulating on WhatsApp that warns people not to buy its mooncakes in Hong Kong due to health concerns.

The warning also told people to avoid purchasing Taipan mooncakes even if they are cheap as they have been shipped back from the mainland.

Bobo Cheung, Taipan's assistant marketing manager, told The Standard "it's absolutely impossible" the company would sell mooncakes returned from the mainland as they cannot be returned.

Cheung's comments come at a time when huge amounts of Taipan mooncakes are at risk of being destroyed after retailers across the mainland took them off the shelves and returned them to the Guangzhou distributor last week.

The move stemmed from Garic Kwok, the son of Taipan's founder, supporting the protest movement in Hong Kong on social media.

A message circulating on WhatsApp said some of the snowy mooncakes being sold in Hong Kong had been returned from the mainland after being taken off the shelves. As a result, a lot of Hong Kong shops are offering big discounts on them.

"Snowy mooncakes can easily turn bad," the message said. "Repetitive freezing and unfreezing will pose big concerns on the quality and bacteria volume."

The message warned people - especially the elderly and those with long-term illnesses - not to buy the mooncakes. "Please forward it to friends with different political views. Health is what's most important," it added.

Attached to the message was a photo posted by Facebook user Melinda Tong which showed a box of eight Taipan snowy mooncakes, which is usually priced at HK$285, being sold for HK$90.

The Standard checked the logo on the price tag and identified it as Royal Supermarket, which is the largest supermarket chain in Macau.

Cheung said a mainland distributor visited Taipan's office in Hong Kong, but it was solely for the purpose of informing the firm about the situation in the mainland, and had nothing to do with negotiating the return of mooncakes.

The online store for Taipan mooncakes was taken down on Alibaba's Tmall some 10 days ago. Its products also cannot be found on China's two biggest e-commerce platforms, and Alibaba's Taobao.

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