Chongqing police earlier today (October 10) had detained some Wal-Mart employees; the company apologized to shoppers for any inconvenience and said it was cooperating with authorities. Wal-Mart has ten stores and two affiliates in Chongqing, a massive metropolis of 32 million people in western China.
COMMENT: China still is reporting constant problems with mislabeling, repackaging of expired food, counterfeit and substandard food and other issues despite long and repeated efforts to improve enforcement of food safety rules. Such cases are common in markets and smaller stores, but alleged violations by big foreign stores tend to draw more attention.
The Wal-Mart stores were accused of selling more than 63,500 kilograms (14.4 tons) of mislabeled pork. Wal-Mart apparently has been repeatedly punished for violating food standards and other rules since it began operating in Chongqing in 2006.
According to its website, Wal-Mart has 284 outlets in more than 100 Chinese cities. Some are outlets of local retail chains acquired by Wal-Mart.
Mislabeling is not a new problem for the chain globally. Some years ago, one of Wal-Mart super-stores was shut down in Mexico because product labels were in English and not Spanish.Although I'm hardly an apologist for Wal-Mart, it would be interesting to know whether Wal-Mart was singled out in this case, or whether other foreign retailers were similarly fined where labeling problems were identified by Chinese inspectors.