Wal-Mart is under fire in China for allegedly dismissing four workers who accused the company of food safety violations.
“Relevant authorities need to step in quickly, and not let such suspected acts of revenge be carried out with impunity,” Xinhua reporter Zhang Chen wrote on Xinhua News Agency’s blog, Bloomberg reports.
According to Xinhua, the workers were fired one month after accusing the company of selling food that had passed its sell-by date. The workers were employed at a store in Shenzhen.
Wal-Mart China spokeswoman Vivian Jiang told Bloomberg that the employees were terminated for “performance issues and for deviation from company policy.”
“They were not terminated for talking to the media,” Jiang said.
Wal-Mart has been accused of retaliating against workers in the U.S. who have participated in protests and strikes calling for higher wages. We reached out to Wal-Mart for comment and will update when we hear back.
The fired employees made the accusations in a video released to the media last month that showed worms crawling on rice and frying oil so old that it was “black as soy sauce.”
The narrator in the video claimed that Wal-Mart employees use the old oil to fry meat that it sold to customers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Wal-Mart launched an investigation following the release of the video and said it found no evidence of any food safety violations. Chinese authorities also investigated and found nothing to support the accusations.
There have been growing concerns surrounding food safety in China. A recent investigation into a major Chinese meat supplier found it had been selling expired meat to a number of U.S. companies, such as McDonald’s and Yum Brands, which owns Pizza Hut and KFC.
And a separate investigation earlier this year found that the donkey meat sold at some Wal-Mart stores in China contained the DNA of foxes. The company was forced to recall the meat, which came from a local supplier.
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