It is unfortunate that the judge ruled against us in this defamation case , and we are of course disappointed. Nonetheless we will respect the court’s decision.
The defendant (Lau Kian Eng) claimed that there was a lizard in a loaf of bread he had purchased and already partly consumed. He lodged a complaint five days after the date of purchase. Given that the lizard was fresh and not embedded in the loaf, we know that it did not enter the packaging during the production and handling process. From the beginning we suspected product tampering by irresponsible parties with malicious intent.
Following lodging the complaint to Gardenia, the defendant also brought the matter up to a consumers association and then finally a press conference was held.
Photographs of this lizard were published in the media, and this was damaging to our reputation. This occurred earlier this year, at a time when several irresponsible parties who have their own private agenda, were trying to discredit Gardenia and tarnish our reputation. These parties even went so far as to take a 2010 contamination case from the United Kingdom, and try to make it look like a Gardenia product.
While the unpleasant experience by Lau and his family is most unfortunate, Gardenia is confident of the hygiene and product safety measures in place at our facilities.
We are also disheartened by YB Charles Santiago (Member of Parliament for Klang) implying that we do not respect consumers’ rights. Several months ago, we invited YB Charles to visit our factory so that he could see first-hand how such contamination could not happen. However, he chose not to take us up on this offer.
It has always been Gardenia’s policy to serve our customers to the best of our abilities in terms of quality of product and service. Every Gardenia product is prepared under the most hygienic conditions, and every possible measure is taken to ensure the safety and quality of our products throughout the entire production process and handling of our products. We have been practicing this policy faithfully for 26 years, and we will continue to do so.
Gardenia has been a good corporate citizen since the beginning, and we will always take the necessary measures to protect our reputation and image.
HAZLINAH HARUN is senior marketing manager, Gardenia Bakeries (KL) Sdn Bhd.