Jailed Walmart workers in Chinese pork flap freed

by Staff
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BEIJING – Chongqing, China, authorities released two Walmart Stores Inc. employees who were jailed six months ago because of a food-labeling violation, the Wall Street Journal reported on April 30.

On April 30, a Walmart spokeswoman said the Chongqing People's Procuratorate decided not to press charges against the employees and released them last week.

In October, Chongqing police arrested the two workers, detained 35 other Walmart employees and fined the company $579,000 over allegations the workers had mislabeled ordinary pork as a more expensive organic variety. As a result, Walmart's 13 stores in the city closed temporarily. Their release may end a setback for Walmart in this important growth market.

At the time of the incident, the Chinese national government was working on ensuring food safety and and attempting to calm inflation. The skyrocketing price of pork, a Chinese diet staple, was under particular scrutiny.

Walmart China chief Ed Chan resigned shortly after the incident, and the retailer said it has since implemented a new international compliance structure to oversee food safety at all of its outlets.

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