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The French supermarket chain Carrefour and the American fast-food chain McDonald’s topped the list of offenders made by of the Chinese central television (CCTV) on the anniversary of World Consumer Rights Day on March 15.
A team from the CCTV went to a McDonald’s restaurant in Sanlitun, a neighborhood of Beijing, and took photos with a hidden camera; they documented the use of stiffen cheese in burgers, hours after removing the sanitary plastic cover from it. The TV journalists also noted that the restaurant staff had been manipulating the expiration dates of the deserts sold by this restaurant.
When they asked a staff member about these practices, without the person knowing that they were being recorded, they were told that the practices would increase profits and bonuses for the staff.
McDonald’s of China came with an immediate response on its blog, saying it attaches great importance to these violations. The company added that they will strengthen the management and focus on running the business according to the necessary criteria in order to maintain good consumer reputation and clean food and promised to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
China has experienced several food scandals in recent months, ranging from using recycled cooking oils to fruits being painted to look fresher, mushrooms found to be radiated and tainted wine. The number of McDonald’s restaurants in China has reached more than 1400 with 200 of these opening just last year, according to the official website of the company. China is the third largest market for the fast food chain, which provides employment for more than 70.000 people.
The French hypermarket chain Carrefour has 200 stores in China, which were targeted last year. After it misled customers through a number of deceptive offers, the Chinese TV station were careful to include them in their report.
In the Zhengzhou branch, regular chicken was sold as a free-range chicken at double the price, according to the TV channel. Carrefour has opened an investigation immediately, and promised severe punishment to those responsible in order to protect the rights of the consumers, according to their official Sina Weibo micro-blog, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.
After three days, the authorities in Zhengzhou temporally shut down the store as per a report by China’s national English-language newspaper for North American readers, China Daily USA. In 2011, Carrefour was accused by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) for misleading pricing tags.
The discovery of the misguided pricing was made after an undercover investigation carried out by NDRC personnel in five branches of the French hypermarket chain in a handful of cities.
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