FARINE, a popular French bakery in downtown, was suspended by local authority this morning for allegedly using expired flour.
Police have held 8 executives with the bakery chain and further investigation is continuing.
The Xuhui District market supervision bureau destroyed a batch of bread on its flagship store on Wukang Road which was suspected of using expired materials. Law enforcement officials took away several samples for further investigation.
The other three stores in Huangpu District and Pudong New Area were also suspended and sealed by local authority.
The market supervision authority of Minhang District has also investigated the company headquarters on Jinglian Road in Minhang and confiscated about 500 packs of expired wheat flours.
At La Manufacture de Farine, Farine's headquarters on Minhang District's Jinglian Road, its expired flour has been sealed by Minhang District Market Supervision and Management Bureau.
A pack of imported rye flour weighing 25 kilograms which was produced by Minoteries Viron in France had expired on November 29 last year, Shanghai Daily found. It was produced on November 30, 2015. Production at the factory has been suspended as well.
"After receiving the tip-off, we sealed 578 packs of flour of 13 batches at the factory and immediately ordered the bakery to suspend production," said Wang Zhe, deputy director of the bureau.
"Samples of these 578 packs of flour have been sent for tests and we are examining its stock now," Wang said.
Bureau officials are questioning staff members of the bakery this morning.
The headquarters comprising Farine's production and stock area as well as R&D area and laboratory just started operation on March 6.
The bakery claimed all its flours were high quality wheat flours imported from France and gained wide popularity among both expats and local residents. It was dubbed “the most delicious bakery" in the city by netizens. Customers usually had to line up for at least 30 minutes to buy its bread.
Several customers came to buy its bread this morning but was surprisingly told the famous bakery had been suspended due to food safety issues.
"I'm really disappointed because my friend and I often come to buy. Its price is not cheap so we always believe the quality is good," one of the customers from United States said.
"If it is true, it definitely should be punished, because they cannot do that to their clients," she added.
The scandal was initially exposed by one of the bakery's staff who tipped off on Weibo that he found the bakery were using expired and even moldy flours.
In some candid videos he posted, the package on a bag of flours showed the expiry was due by December 2016, but bakers were still using them. A baker even used a sieve to take out some moldy flours. The baked bread was placed on dirty cloths, while the shelves are covered with dust.
"My conscience will be condemned if I failed to expose the scandal," the staff member said. "There are so many customers coming to buy the bread every day, including many parents and their children."