* Anonymous employee's video alleges violations at deli
* Shows images of black fryer oil, worms crawling in rice
* Shenzhen authorities investigating - Xinhua
* Wal-Mart: Internal, gov't probes uncovered no evidence
SHANGHAI, Aug 9 Chinese regulators are
investigating a Wal-Mart store in the southern city of Shenzhen
for food safety violations, the official Xinhua news service
reported, based on videos it said were taken by a Wal-Mart
employee at one branch.
The U.S. retail giant told Reuters that it had launched its
own investigation in response to the video and found no evidence
to support its claims, nor had multiple visits by authorities
uncovered any wrongdoing.
"We are comfortable saying, based upon this inspection, that
none of the alleged activities exists in the store today,"
Wal-Mart said in a statement.
The voiceover to the video - made by an anonymous person who
claimed to have worked for Wal-Mart for seven years - said
employees in the store's deli section, operating under the
principle of "don't change for a month," would often use cooking
oil so old it had turned "black as soy sauce" to cook items like
fried chicken for sale to customers.
They would also fry and sell meat that had passed its
sell-by date, and sell rice infested with insects, the narrator
said, showing footage of black oil in a fryer, expired meat, and
worms crawling on rice.
The Xinhua article said no conclusions from the
investigation by the Shenzhen Municipal Market Supervisory
Administration had been made. Xinhua said Shenzhen authorities
were testing samples of oil and meat from the store but results
were not yet available.
The statement from Wal-Mart said the company was cooperating
fully with local authorities and would take "immediate actions"
to deal with any issues uncovered.
The Xinhua report said that reporters had accompanied law
enforcement officers to check on the operations of the Honghu
branch of Wal-Mart, and found that managers had used
hand-written methods to specify the shelf-lives of some
"Handwritten expiration dates can be changed at will,
leaving supermarkets plenty of room to use expired ingredients,"
the report said.
However, the Xinhua report also quoted a local food safety
supervision official saying that at present there is no legal
mandatory requirement for when frying oil must be replaced, nor
is there a law against adding new oil to older oil.
The video follows a series of undercover exposes of major
Western food suppliers by Chinese domestic media, many using
hidden video cameras.
For example, McDonalds and Yum Brands, owner of Pizza Hut
and KFC, were forced to apologize in China after being caught up
in a TV expose of questionable meat-handling practices by
supplier Shangha Husi Food Co Ltd.
Wal-Mart came under fire in Chinese media earlier in the
year after a supplier's donkey meat product was found to contain
In 2011 Chinese authorities accused Wal-Mart of selling
expired duck meat, and it was forced to shut down stores in
Chongqing after they were accused of labeling non-organic pork
as organic and selling it at a higher price.
(Reporting by Pete Sweeney; Editing by Mark Heinrich)