Retailing giant Wal-Mart says it will be conducting DNA testing on meat it sells in China after revelations a donkey product it sold in some outlets in Jinan contained fox meat.
It said that as soon as it learned that Dezhou Fujude Food Company Limited, a supplier in Jinan, China, had produced and provided Walmart China and other distributors with donkey meat containing fox DNA, it immediately withdrew and sealed all products from the supplier.
Walmart said it was compensating customers who bought the product, a popular delicacy in China. It was also actively supporting the industrial, commercial and food safety authorities in their investigation.
“We understand that officials at Dezhou Fujude Food Company have been placed under criminal detention by local authorities, and Walmart is also considering taking legal action against the responsible parties,” it said in a statement.
“While this appears to be an isolated incident to select stores in China, our customers’ trust is paramount for our business and we are deeply sorry for this incident.
“We take the issue of food fraud very seriously. To this end, Walmart China is going beyond what local law requires and is adding DNA tests to its sample tests of meat products to ensure high quality and safety of the products sold in Walmart stores.”
The company said it had strengthened its random, species-specific testing program of products containing animal protein in the last year to ensure they met label authenticity claims.
“We have literally tested thousands of samples of foods worldwide using independent, third-party laboratories to ensure they contain only the ingredients declared on the package.”
The retailer has aggressive plans for expansion in China, the world’s biggest grocery market.
Fox meat is considered edible in China, but is strong-smelling and sold cheaply. It is a by-product of the fur trade.