Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, will invest 100 million yuan ($16.3 million) over three years to improve food safety in China as it works to bolster its image after a series of food-related citations.
Some of the funds will be used to expand a mobile food-inspection lab program to cover 70 stores in Guangdong Province, Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart said today in an e-mailed statement. The retailer will also increase supplier training, improve store standards, recruit more food-safety experts and expand its fresh-food distribution.
Wal-Mart last year was cited by the Beijing Food Safety Administration for selling sesame oil and squid with hazardous levels of chemicals. In October 2011, police arrested Wal-Mart workers in Chongqing amid a probe of allegations the retailer mislabeled ordinary pork as organic. They were later released.
Wal-Mart fell 0.7 percent to $78.25 yesterday in New York. The shares gained 15 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 14 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.