Tosen Foods, Inc. did not manufacture cans of Swan Sardines for supporters of Governor Art Yap, the firm said amid controversy on the alleged distribution of the brand’s sardines with the chief executive’s name printed on the label as part of the government’s post-Typhoon “Odette” food aid.
Pasig City-based Tosen Foods, which manufactures and distributes various lines of canned goods including Swan Sardines, issued a statement on their Facebook page on Wednesday to deny any hand in the production of sardine cans which were printed with the text “from the friends of Arthur Yap.”
Photos of the rusty, unopened sardine cans which were presented as post-typhoon food aid went viral over social media earlier this week, while Yap, in response, said that the images may have shown canned goods donated by his campaign supporter “Swan Manufacturing Corporation” during the 2019 elections.
On Thursday, Tosen Foods, Inc. president Candice Chung confirmed to the Chronicle that the Swan Sardines in the photos were not made by any of their manufacturing plants based on multiple visual indications other than the printed “Art Yap” text.
“There are a number of visual points that we look for in the can—we don’t disclose what these are ‘cause syempre that would make it easier to replicate—but we did do these checks and based on that, we can say that these are not from our facilities,” said Chung.
In their statement, Tosen Foods said the sardine cans were counterfeit and “do not represent the Swan Sardines Brand.”
Chung also denied that Tosen Foods manufactured Swan Sardines for the “friends of Art Yap.”
“We can tell when we look at the cans, if it was made by us. So no, we did not produce for them. Honestly, in this case, we are not sure where the products came from,” said Chung.
Earlier, Yap claimed that the sardine cans could have been donations for his 2019 campaign as he denied that his government distributed canned goods that had labels which were printed with his name to typhoon victims.
Yap said that his campaign supporter “Swan Manufacturing Corporation” donated cans of sardines during the 2019 polls.
“No such thing na nag distribute ta og sardinas na naay ngan na Art Yap. Sauna siguro, posibli. Sa 2019, naa koy campaign supporters ang Swan Manufacturing Corporation nagdonate ng sardinas gibutangan sa akong ngan, pero sauna pa,” said Yap.
However, upon verification, it was found out that Swan Manufacturing Corporation is a cosmetics firm that manufactures makeup and powder puffs.
Meanwhile, Chung also noted that Tosen Foods is not affiliated with Swan Manufacturing Corporation.
Cause of concern
Chung explained that they issued the statement on their Facebook page to allay fears and concerns on public safety considering that the alleged Swan Sardines appeared to be of poor quality and had rust on them.
“For us, medyo public safety issue. We saw rusting on the can, there are issues with production. So we wanted to check if it was really from us so we can assure the public. So at least with the case, we are confident it is not from us,” said Chung.
According to Chung, they took action after finding out that “Swan Sardines” had become a trending topic on Facebook because of the photos that circulated.
She hoped that the issue would end following their publication of their side on the matter, noting that they released the statement “in good faith.”
“We’re not interested in making this a bigger issue than it is, but we do want to reassure our buyers and Swan supporters that we take quality very seriously so we needed to make a public statement,” she said.
Bohol, a priority
Chung said they have been focusing on replenishing the supply of their products in Bohol where demand for canned goods particularly sardines has skyrocketed due to the calamity.
She admitted that Tosen Foods has to hurdle challenges such as long queues for Ro-Ro (Roll-on, Roll-off) vessels to ship their products but assured that Bohol is a priority in terms of supply destination.
“The first day after Odette, we prioritized giving support to our Bohol distributors and retailers kasi sila po ang unang tumawag at unang naubusan so we prioritize them even ahead of our Cebu clients,” said Chung.
Tosen Foods also diverted some of their supply for other localities to Bohol to help meet the demand in the province.
“Bohol is one of our most important markets so we also want to make sure that we take care of our fellow Boholanos,” said Chung.