Walmart’s Chinese Donkey Meat Got a Little Too Foxy


In what may be 2014’s biggest revelation to date, we now know that the fox says “I’m not a donkey.”

Three things we learned from today’s Wall Street Journal story:

  • Walmart operates in China’s Shandong province
  • “Five spice” donkey meat is popular among customers in said province
  • Walmart will now pay approximately $8 to each person who bought that delicious product after testing revealed the presence of DNA from other animals (including foxes) in the meat

What else is there to know?

Chinese authorities are pissed, Walmart may sue its provider…and this isn’t the first time the world’s biggest retailer has had to deal with the consequences of selling poor-quality products to Chinese consumers.

The biggest takeaway here is that the Chinese public doesn’t really trust its food to be safe. This may have something to do with the fact that “oversight currently falls predominantly on the retailer”, meaning that the government loves to bring the hammer down but relies on private enterprise to test its own products.

Remember the tainted milk scandal? Or the expired eggs scandal? Or the mislabeled pork scandal?

In other words, Western brands operating in China need to keep an extra-close watch on their own messes, because while the state prefers “hands off” regulatory policies, they certainly know how to stir up bad press.

It’s not a hard thing to do when you own the media.