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Wal-Mart apologizes for new customer fraud

(Shanghai Daily)

09:57, September 07, 2011

Wal-Mart China has apologized for selling ordinary pork as organic in three stores in the southwest city of Chongqing, the eighth time this year the local industry watchdog has uncovered illegal practices at the global retailer.

The Chongqing Industry and Commerce Administration launched an investigation into the supermarket chain after receiving complaints that ordinary pork was sold as organic at higher price, Chongqing Evening News reported yesterday.

Officials found the organic pork sold in three Wal-Mart stores in Chongqing had no organic seal.

The three stores made extra profits of more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,565) from sales of 1,179 kilograms falsely labeled pork, pricing it at 10 yuan per kilogram more than it should be, from January to August.

Tang Chuan, an official with the Chongqing Industry and Commerce Administration, told the newspaper the three were guilty of false promotion and fraud. He said Wal-Mart would be punished for illegal business practices.

Wal-Mart China said it is cooperating with the investigation and has set up a task force to make a thorough check on all pork products in Chong-qing stores and has pledged to tighten internal management to prevent such things happening again.

Wal-Mart's Chongqing stores have repeatedly been found selling out-of-date food and making false claims for its products. The administration has sanctioned Wal-Mart stores 20 times since 2006, eight times from January to August.

One store was fined 340,000 yuan in April for selling out-of-date smoked duck. A total of 208 kilograms of the meat, refried after the expiry of its shelf life, was sold by the store during February.

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