SEOUL, April 21 (Korea Bizwire) — Police are investigating a major dairy company over its disputed claim that one of its products is effective in preventing coronavirus infection, police officials said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has recently filed a complaint against Namyang Dairy Products Co. for allegedly exaggerating the result of laboratory research on the antiviral effect of its Bulgaris yogurt.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said it took over the case from Sejong Police Station and assigned it to the financial crime investigation team Tuesday.
During a symposium on April 13, Namyang’s research chief announced that an experiment by a team of local college researchers showed Bulgaris is highly effective in suppressing influenza and COVID-19 viruses.
The announcement sharply boosted sales of the yogurt drinks and the company’s stock prices.
But experts later questioned the credibility of that claim as the researchers have yet to conduct animal testing and clinical trials.
The ministry accused Namyang of violating the food labeling and advertising act by stating as if all seven Bulgaris-labeled products were effective in inhibiting the viruses even though the lab test involved only one of them.
The ministry also claimed the company apparently disclosed the finding not for academic purposes but to promote its products.
The company apologized on Friday for “causing misunderstanding among consumers.”