Chongqing Wal-Marts closed for pork mislabeling

by Staff
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SHANGHAI – Some Wal-Mart stores in the Chinese city of Chongqing have been ordered to temporarily close and to pay 2.7 million yuan ($421,000) in fines following an investigation into mislabeling of regular pork as "organic," according to The Associated Press. Wal-Mart said Chongqing police had detained some of its employees over what has been dubbed the "green pork" incident. It apologized to shoppers for any inconvenience, saying in a statement on Oct. 10 it was cooperating with local authorities.

Wal-Mart operates 10 stores and two affiliates in Chongqing, which is home to 32 million people in western China. The company said it was ordered to close some of its stores in the city, but did not say how many. State media reported all 12 stores were temporarily closed.

Despite repeated efforts to improve enforcement of food-safety rules, China continues reporting constant problems with mislabeling, repackaging of expired food, counterfeit and substandard food, among other issues.

The official Xinhua News Agency relayed the Wal-Mart stores were accused of selling more than 63,500 kilograms (14.4 tons) of mislabeled pork. The fine amounted to 10 times the value of the falsely labeled pork sold. The report added that Wal-Mart had been repeatedly punished for violating food standards and other rules since it began operating in Chongqing in 2006.

"Wal-Mart is committed to protecting the rights of consumers and will spare no efforts in this regard," the company responded in a statement.
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