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Wal-Mart to strengthen testing and monitoring

( Updated: 2014-01-06 13:13

The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, has recalled donkey meat sold at some of its outlets in China, after tests showed the product contained meat from other animals. While the issue could dent the US company's reputation in the mainland, it could also spur better food safety regulations that protect both retailers and customers.

A big lesson for the world's biggest retailer.

Last December, Wal-Mart was forced to recall a range of donkey products supplied by a company in China's eastern Shandong province. Authorities said they contained traces of fox meat.

The tainted donkey meat was sold in only two Wal-Mart stores in Jinan, the capital of Shandong.

But shoppers in Beijing have also reacted strongly.

"The government is not doing a good job monitoring food manufacturers. They need to do more."

"I am quite worried about food safety. The government must strengthen its monitoring of food supply chains."

"Government officials must go into the field to investigate, rather than sit in their offices all the time. Food manufacturers must have a conscience."

Wal-Mart is now taking action to reassure consumers, including setting-up a team to investigate the incident and strengthening its food safety rules. It's also promised to boost DNA testing of the meats it sells in China.

But experts believe those measures still don't address the source of the problem.  Zhu Yi, Associate Professor of China Agriculture University, said,"It is good that Wal-Mart has decided to boost DNA testing of the meats it sells in China. That could help prevent more label frauds like the donkey meat scandal. But DNA tests are not the ultimate way out, and they are expensive. Wal-Mart needs to better monitor its suppliers, so it can trace the source of tainted products."

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