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January 11, 2019

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FamilyMart contests inconvenient allegations

A spat between convenience store chain FamilyMart and “independent review organization” Blueberry Test escalated into a full-scale war of words yesterday.

On Tuesday, Blueberry Test uploaded a video on Weibo in which the company claimed to have found expired food on sale at 21 outlets of FamilyMart in 10 cities over a one-month period. Blueberry Test said it started the investigation after one of its employees bought an out-of-date sandwich at FamilyMart.

FamilyMart responded by conducting checks on stores in the video and failed to find any expired food. The store went on to say that surveillance camera footage at the stores concerned showed repeated “abnormal” purchases.

Blueberry Test released another video yesterday, apparently in response to FamilyMart’s suggestion of “abnormal purchases.” The video purports to show that bread bought from a FamilyMart in Jing’an District had expired more than 16 hours previously.

The same video claimed that a cake bought from a FamilyMart in Beijing had expired almost one day previously.

“Blueberry Test is responsible for the content of these videos and has many others that have not been made public,” said “Xiao” of Blueberry Test in the video. Xiao said Blueberry Test had recordings of the whole shooting process.

FamilyMart said that it believed the content of the video was untrue and would take legal action.

In its latest statement, Blueberry Test said its investigations were conducted mainly between 4pm and 6pm, and between 11pm and 12am because the expiry time of cakes and bread in FamilyMart are mainly between those times.

The organization said it may release more videos depending on the “development” of the matter and that it reserves the right to take legal action against FamilyMart.

Blueberry Test also claims to have found other problems such as dates on FamilyMart invoices. It said its employees entered the stores in the afternoon, in the evening and at midnight “many times” to ensure the information was accurate and valid.

Market watchdogs in Jing’an and Yangpu districts on Tuesday checked the Jing’an Temple subway station and the Fudan University FamilyMart stores involved in the video. No expired food was found.


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