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MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS/. Russia’s agriculture watchdog (Rosselkhoznadzor) has made a decision to send to court the newly-discovered evidence some hypermarkets of the international retailer Auchan were selling forged foods. As the watchdog has said, tests of meat products in four Auchan outlets in the Moscow region exposed forgeries in 89% of products.
Auchan is beginning its own internal investigation, the French retailer’s external communications director, Maria Kurnosova, told TASS.
The watchdog was inspecting Auchan hypermarkets in Moscow and the Moscow Region on July 14 through 21.
"Of the 17 samples examined 15 failed to match the declared specifications. In fact, 89% of products were falsified," Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement.
"Minced beef also contained pork, chicken and lamb DNA, and minced pork - beef, chicken and lamb DNA, semi-cooked kebob made of beef and lamb - pork, beef and lamb DNA. One variety of meat is replaced with another, less valuable. The exact composition is not mentioned on the price tags, which misleads customers," Rosselkhoznadzor said.
Earlier, Rosselkhoznadzor said that one of the meat samples taken at an Auchan hypermarket proved to contain horseflesh DNA. The watchdog is now checking this, because experts still had certain doubts," Rosselkhoznadzor chief’s assistant, Alexey Alekseyenko, told TASS.
Auchan is faced with a fine of $10,000. A second violation will cost it a $15,000 fine and suspension of business for up to 90 days.
This is not the first violation by Auchan exposed of late. In other instances the retailer prolonged chilled meat’s expiration dates in the process of storage, processing and marketing and also violated marking rules. One Auchan supermarkets used expired salami to cook pizzas.
The latest inspections of Auchan hypermarkets were ordered by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, Alekseyenko told TASS, adding that the measure followed customers’ complaints about foods’ quality.