South Korean customers are discarding Tsingtao beer after a video of a man urinating into an ingredient container at Tsingtao Brewery went viral over the weekend.
The viral video: In the video, a man wearing a hardhat and uniform can be seen climbing into a high-walled brewery container at a Tsingtao warehouse before appearing to urinate inside. According to the beer company, the incident is traced to its “Brewery No. 3” in Pingdu, Shandong province.
Fallout in South Korea: The video has sparked disgust and fear among many consumers about Tsingtao Brewery, the second-largest beer producer in China. While the company claimed that the incident happened at a factory exclusively serving the domestic Chinese market, South Korean restaurants and consumers continue to express concern about hygiene standards and quality control.
“It’s not a matter of whether the products were for the domestic market or export, as the incident has already undermined public trust in the company. Consumers do not know what is happening at other Tsingtao factories,” an office worker in Seoul told The Korea Times.
Decrease in Tsingtao sales: According to Korea JoongAng Daily, many restaurants are asking for refunds, but Tsingtao’s Korean importer has denied the requests. Sales of Tsingtao beer at convenience stores have also reportedly plummeted, with sales dropping by 26.2% at one convenience store chain and decreasing by 20% and 13% at two other chains compared to the previous week.
On Monday morning, Tsingtao Brewery’s share price on the Shanghai exchange initially dropped by approximately 6.75% but later rebounded, resulting in a net decrease of around 1.15%.
Not the first time: The factory at which the urination incident occurred has been shut down, and local authorities are currently conducting an investigation into the incident. However, skepticism among consumers is still spreading regarding Chinese-made food products as the country has a history of food safety issues, including the 2008 deadly milk scandal involving melamine found in infant milk powder.
Experts are blaming the substandard working conditions and inadequate monitoring in many Chinese food factories, emphasizing the need for consumers to check details before purchasing Chinese-made products.