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Walmart China Hit With Food Safety Scandal As Employee Goes Undercover to Detail Violations [UPDATED]

Posted: 08/8/2014 6:23 pm

walmartJust as Shenzhen looks to welcome several new stores in the near future, Walmart is now dealing with its own food safety scandal. A senior employee, who has been with the company for eight years, has detailed many of the company’s unsafe food preparation techniques.

On August 7, the Guangdong news program “One Time” broadcast an episode in which a long-time employee of the Walmart in Gonghu, Shenzhen claimed the store engages in a number of unsafe food preparation practices. To prove it, he agreed to wear a camera and go undercover while on the job.

This employee works in the prepared food section where foods are cooked for Walmart customers to purchase. He’s worked in the section for his entire eight years with the company.

walmart food safety scandal

Since last year, Walmart has implemented a strict cost control policy in order to maximize profits.

The employee alleges that the oil used to deep fry foods for customers is of inferior quality because it is regularly reused. As seen in the video, the oil used to cook a hundred pieces of chicken has already turned dark, but because half a bucket of new oil is added to the used oil, they are able to escape detection.

The unidentified employee said:

According to my vast experience, the oil is not changed for half a month to a whole month at least. Sometimes, it’s not even changed at all. When workers copy the kitchen records, they would write, ‘(Oil) already changed.’

The whistleblower also revealed that raw ingredients for cooked foods are often a week old. Despite being a supermarket, fresh ingredients come in once a week and are kept refrigerated at 0 to 5 degrees Celsius to well past the food’s date of expiry.

walmart food safety scandal

According to the employee, another incident involved a customer who returned a bag of rice because it had grown mold and attracted worms. However, instead of throwing it away, the rice was given to the cooked foods department which prepared and sold it to customers for lunch.

The expose has attracted the attention of the Luohu Sungang Trade Office, which is now investigating. A spokesperson for Luohu Food Inspection admitted there is no expressly mandated time for when to change cooking oil, but that tests can determine its quality.

Meanwhile, Walmart President and CEO Sean Clarke just announced in a meeting with Shenzhen mayor Xu Qin that as many as nine new Walmart stores may be coming to Shenzhen in the next five years.

Shenzhen mayor Xu was quoted as saying he hopes Walmart will take the lead in ensuring food safety and in providing high quality food to city residents. Clarke was quoted as saying Walmart has strict internal tests when it comes to food quality and adheres to a rigid standard in purchasing its products.

walmart food safety scandal

UPDATE 2:59pm August 9: Walmart has completely denied the allegations of improper food preparation, reports Foshan Daily.

The results of the inspection carried out by Luohu Food Inspection have not yet been revealed to the public.


Photos: Xinhua, Want China Times

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  • Daniel McDermott

    A “whistleblower”, righhht. He probably got a nice payday from the government and CCTV for exposing another food scandal on an international company. I’ll be the first to say f— U Wal-Mart, but how come there aren’t any whistleblower’s on Chinese owned supermarkets which are always suspiciously more dirty and less organized? Oh, that’s right, that isn’t government approved newsworthy.

    • Archie

      International company, but still staffed and managed by Chinese at the local level. They can target foreign brands, but it is still their business culture that is causing the scandals, and if targeting international brands helps improve that situation, then so be it.

  • The master of none

    Don’t forget the rats that are allowed to roam about storage depot crawling over the food.

  • Pingback: Investigation Finds Wal-Mart Meets Standards, Whistleblower Suspended | TheNanfang

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