Farine expired flour scandal comes to a close in Shanghai court

Six employees of popular local bakery chain Farine, which was involved in an expired flour scandal two years ago, were sentenced in Shanghai on Friday.

Six employees of former popular bakery chain Farine, which was involved in an expired flour scandal two years ago, were sentenced to up to three years in jail with a three-year reprieve by the Shanghai No.3 Intermediate People’s Court Friday afternoon, the court said.

Farine's two catering and food companies involved were fined 2.6 million yuan for producing and selling inferior products. Another two Farine employees were exempted from criminal penalty.

According to the court, Franck Pecol, the French founder and owner of the chain, set up a catering company in Xuhui District in 2012 and a food company in 2016, with four Farine bakery chain stores opened in Xuhui District, Huangpu District and the Pudong New Area.

Before March 6, 2017, the semi-finished dough used for making bread was produced in a basement at the Farine Xuhui outlet. Starting from March 7, the dough was made in the food company in Minhang District. 

The catering company imported flour from overseas in December 2015, and May and August 2016, and the expiry dates ranged from November 29, 2016 to March 5, 2017.

From December 2016, knowing that the flour was expired, Pecol told his employees to continue using it to make dough.

The situation was leaked to the public by a former Farine employee in March 2017 and aroused public concern. All Farine outlets were shut down soon after.

The court said between December 4, 2016 and March 23, 2017, the catering company sold bread made of expired flour and made nearly 1.9 million yuan. Between March 10 and 23, 2017, the food company sold such bread for more than 924,000 yuan.

Since the two companies and eight people surrendered themselves to police and confessed, the court treated them more leniently.

Six employees were given jail terms ranging from two years to three years with reprieves and fines, and the two companies were fined 2.6 million yuan.

The trial was also attended by consuls from the French Consulate General in Shanghai.

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