The convenience store chain FamilyMart has denied an accusation that it sold expired food after a video was posted claiming that 21 of its convenience stores in 10 cities across the country had done so, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.
Two FamilyMart stores in Shenzhen, one in Hongling Building and the other at Shenzhen University, were found selling expired food, according to the review organization Blueberry Test, which is known for its expose on luxury hotels over unhygienic practices in 2017.
The scandal came to light when Blueberry Test released a video Tuesday on the Chinese social networks Sina Weibo and WeChat.
The video included footage of an investigator purchasing a cake that was one day past the expiration date at a FamilyMart store on Wangfujing Street in Beijing on Nov. 14.
According to Xu Penghao, chief editor of Blueberry Test, the organization decided to investigate FamilyMart after one of its staff members bought an expired sandwich at a store he frequented in Beijing.
The store manager showed no surprise and offered two cups of free coffee as compensation, which made him suspect that the sale of expired food was a common practice at the convenience store.
Blueberry Test later visited a number of FamilyMart stores at random in Beijing and six stores were found to have sold expired food in just two weeks.
The jaw-dropping discovery prompted the organization to conduct a one-month random inspection of 100 FamilyMart stores in 10 cities across the country, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dongguan and Keelung of Taiwan.
FamilyMart is a Japanese convenience store franchise and is one of the most popular convenience store brands in China, with more than 2,500 stores nationwide.
In response, Shanghai Fumanjia Convenience Co. Ltd., FamilyMart’s operator in China, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying the company has strict rules prohibiting the sale of expired food and has inspected the stores mentioned in the video and found no such offenses.
Instead, when it checked surveillance footage from around the time that Blueberry Test shot the videos at their stores, they discovered some “unusual” purchases in the footage and that their report did not fully reflect the truth, according to the statement. The company said it might resort to legal action to defend its reputation.
Blueberry Test has yet to give a reply, but in the video that exposed the scandal, the organization said it has preserved all of its recordings, which were taken in one shot, and takes full responsibility for the video.
This was not the first time that FamilyMart had been caught selling expired food. The convenience store brand was taken to court for selling expired and fake food by two consumers in 2015 and 2017.