Carrefour Store Closed After TV Report

CHINA - Retail giant Carrefour temporarily shut down a store in Central China's Henan province on Sunday morning, three days after the store was exposed in the media for changing expiration dates on chicken products and selling regular chicken as more expensive free-range poultry.
calendar icon 22 March 2012
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Wang Shangwei, the public relations manager of the far-west region of Carrefour China, told China Daily on Sunday afternoon that the Carrefour store in the Huayuan Road of Zhengzhou, capital of Henan, was closed as ordered by the local industrial and commercial bureau on Sunday morning.

The store was found to be repackaging normal chicken as free-range chicken at twice the price and ignoring its own sales codes to sell expired meat, including chicken gizzards and mutton rolls, China Central Television, the country's largest television network, reported on Thursday night.

The store will cooperate with the investigation conducted by industrial and commercial authorities, and the other local Carrefour stores will double-check their operations to avoid similar wrongdoings, Wang said.

It remains unknown when the store will reopen, he added.

The Carrefour store's cheating of consumers with fraudulent prices and expired food are serious violations of the Law on the Protection of Consumers' Rights and Interests, an official surnamed Chen from the local industrial and commercial bureau told Dahe Daily in Zhengzhou.

The store has to rectify itself and will need the permission of the industrial and commercial authorities before it can reopen, Chen was quoted as saying.

Carrefour China apologized to the public in a statement issued on Thursday night after the CCTV report, vowing to investigate the case and punish the employees responsible.

"We will further improve the training and take measures to ensure we earnestly implement the provisions needed to safeguard the interests of consumers," according to a statement on the Carrefour China website.

Food safety has become a sensitive issue in recent years following many scandals, including melamine-tainted infant formula, chemical-laced pork and recycled restaurant oil.

Some Zhengzhou residents expressed their support for the closure of the store.

Zhao Linxiao, of Zhengzhou, said the closing of the Carrefour store is a warning to other retail giants, and they must observe the laws and regulations to guarantee the safety and quality of their goods.

Ji Liang, a college student in Zhengzhou, said the closure would not solve the problem for good, because lots of other large shopping malls are doing similar things to cheat consumers.

"It's just a matter of chance that a Carrefour store was the subject of a report by CCTV. I don't think the other retail stores are doing better," Mr Liang said.

"As a consumer, I have no choice but to continue to buy products from the stores of giant retailers," he said. "What I can do to protect myself is to learn on the Internet how to avoid being cheated in the shopping malls."

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