Merchants open customer recall of shoddy pickled cabbage products

Huang Yixuan
Major e-commerce platforms and offline merchants have announced conditions for return of related Chinese sauerkraut items and their refund policies.
Huang Yixuan

Most online and offline merchants have accepted returns of relevant products in the wake of the food hygiene scandal involving multiple Chinese sauerkraut suppliers.

Exposed on Tuesday night were some food producers, including Hunan Xinchaqi Vegetable Co, for using pickled cabbage, or Chinese sauerkraut, produced in pits that failed to meet health standards.

The scandal immediately attracted huge public attention as several well-known instant noodle brands were implicated.

Major e-commerce platforms soon removed the related items, including several products of Master Kong and Uni-President, two of the most popular instant noodle brands.

Tmall Supermarket, the online grocery service operated by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, set up a special column for the after-sales service of sauerkraut-related products in its "Service Hall" page.

Customer service staff said relevant products previously purchased on Tmall Supermarket could be returned and refunded, whether unpacked or not. The platform will also cover shipping costs and impose no purchase time limits.

Similar to Tmall Supermarket, the self-owned flagship stores of Master Kong and Uni-President at are also accepting returns and offering full refunds on relevant products regardless of the purchase time and whether unpacked. The platform will arrange delivery personnel to pick up the products.

As for offline merchants, most stores of major supermarkets and convenience stores, including WuMart, Jingkelong, Carrefour and Bianlifeng, have also taken the relevant products off the shelves.

A Beijing Jingkelong Supermarket staffer said that the relevant products previously sold in their stores could be refunded with shopping receipts as long as the individually wrapped noodles inside are not unsealed, regardless of whether the outer packaging is opened.

A staffer at Carrefour in Beijing, meanwhile, said that products with an unpacked outer packaging can be refunded with receipts, while those with broken seals may need to wait for further policy.

The Administration for Market Regulation has deployed local market supervision authorities to investigate and deal with the problems exposed.

Market regulation departments in Hunan Province, where the producers involved in the scandal are based, are carrying out inspection and law enforcement.

All raw materials, semi-finished products and finished products of the enterprises involved have been sealed in place, and factories have been ordered to halt production, control relevant personnel and recall products sold.

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