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China Using Food Safety as a Retaliatory Measure


As a typical response to any perceived criticism, health authorities in China are investigating a Sam's Club warehouse in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province.  The investigation by the Bureau for Market Regulation was initiated following alleged complaints regarding ‘spoiled’ beef. The Authorities claim that products ‘did not meet standards’ and ordered a recall.  The intensive audit that ensued also disclosed some deviations from regulations.


Authorities in China have publicized a $50,000 fine imposed on Walmart in 2021, possibly in an attempt to discredit the Company and the Sam's Club brand.


The action by Chinese authorities is regarded as a retaliatory response to Walmart announcing that it would not stock products from the Province of Xinjiang. This action followed enactment of a U.S. law banning imports from Xinjiang of products allegedly produced in facilities employing coerced-labor.


Previous actions by Central or Provincial governments in China confirm a militant and disproportionate response to any criticism or perceived impact on image that might be considered an insult or loss of ‘face’.