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Alibaba supermarket under fire after staff seen replacing food item production date labels

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Shanghai, Nov 23: The general manager of Hema Fresh Shanghai was terminated on Wednesday, November 21, after an employee of the Alibaba Group food retailer was seen replacing production date labels on food items with current ones to show that they are fresh, Shanghai TV reported.

The CEO of the outlet, Hou Chi, later tendered an apology and said all outlets of the food retailer were inspected to improve its operations. His apology was posted in an open letter on Weibo, China's microblogging website. He also said sternest of punishments will be given for any sort of violations against the customers.

Alibaba supermarket under fire after staff seen replacing food item production date labels

He also said Hema Fresh will recruit customers as its service inspectors in the wake of incident, the report added.

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The food retailer faced the risk of being punished over suspected consumer fraud, an official with Jing'an District market watchdog said.

"The punishment will be imposed for suspiciously providing commodities with fraudulent means which infringe consumers' rights based on the Shanghai consumer rights protection regulations," Shanghai TV quoted Wang Zheng, deputy director of the Jing'an District Market Supervision and Management Bureau, as saying on Wednesday.

The incident made the headlines after a shopper, surnamed Fang, told Shanghai TV that he saw an employee at the Daning store tearing off labels off carrots showing production dates of November 9, 10 and 11 with ones showing November 15, the current date.

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Fang immediately brought the matter to the notice of the outlet authorities. It was even reported that the man was offered a bribe of 1,000 yuan to withdraw his complaint which he refused and he approached the Jing'an bureau immediately after.

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