Wal-Mart recalls donkey meat in China

Posted at 3:41 PM, Jan 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-02 15:41:11-05

By Alanna Petroff

LONDON (CNNMoney) — Wal-Mart is recalling donkey meat in China after it was found to be contaminated with other animal products.

Wal-Mart said it was recalling the meat in Jinan, the provincial capital of Shandong. The company apologized to customers and said it would provide refunds.

State media said the product — Five Spice Donkey Meat — had been contaminated with fox meat.

Wal-Mart spokespeople in the U.S. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But in a statement posted on Weibo — China’s popular Twitter-style micro blogging site — the company said it had “zero-tolerance” for contamination problems. It said it was stepping up its food safety efforts by introducing routine DNA testing of easily adulterated meat products such as beef, mutton, donkey and venison.

Suppliers would be subject to inspections by a third party, and Wal-Mart will report companies suspected of fraud to the local police, it added.

Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world but has faced growing pains in China, where it is slated to close many under-performing stores in early 2014. In its latest quarterly earnings report, the company said the Chinese closures would hit overall profitability.

Food safety and contamination problems have plagued other companies in China.

Earlier this year, a series of scares damaged confidence in local powdered infant formula, causing a surge in demand for baby milk from Western countries.

Global brands have built up a reputation among many Chinese consumers for safer products, but they’ve had their own share of problems.

Yum! Brands, which owns the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands, has faced an uphill battle in China as it grappled with the fallout from a food safety scandal that began in late 2012 and fears over a new strain of bird flu.

–CNNMoney’s Charles Riley contributed to this report.

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