Wal-Mart boosts China food safety budget threefold to 300m yuan

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 2:44am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 2:44am

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, will increase its food safety budget in China threefold to 300 million yuan (HK$378 million).

It covers the period 2013-2015, to which it had previously allocated 100 million yuan.

The company said it would also increase DNA testing on meat products and supplier inspections and test more of its stores with its two mobile safety labs. China's food and grocery market, set to top US$1.5 trillion by 2016, is crucial for retailers like Wal-Mart and food safety is chief among consumer concerns.

Wal-Mart, French grocer Carrefour, McDonald's and KFC-parent Yum Brands among others have all been criticised on the issue, a sensitive topic in a country that has faced everything from melamine-tainted milk and cadmium-tainted rice to recycled "gutter oil" used for cooking.

Wal-Mart's reputation for food safety in China came under attack earlier this year after its "five spice" donkey meat was found to contain fox meat.

It was also fined in 2011 for selling expired duck meat.

The company has about 7,000 food suppliers in China. It cut 4 per cent of them in recent years for failing audits or DNA tests.