Muji Shanghai Shops Cleared of Unsafe Food Claims Lodged by ShowBloomberg News
Government inspectors say products weren’t from banned regions
Retailer continues to sell imported items cleared by China
Shanghai government inspectors said they found no evidence to support a Chinese television show’s claim that Muji retail stores in the city stocked food imported from areas of Japan allegedly contaminated by radiation. The CCTV show allegations dragged the chain’s stock down Thursday in Tokyo.
The city’s Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said it inspected food sold at Ryohin Keikaku Co.’s Muji chain in Shanghai and cleared the items, according to a report in the state-run English-language Shanghai Daily newspaper on Friday.
China Central Television’s annual “name-and-shame” show that aims to uncover abuses by companies on Wednesday night fingered Muji and Japanese snackmaker, Calbee Inc. for mislabeling items. CCTV claimed labels concealed that food products originated from Japanese areas contaminated after 2011 nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima prefecture on the country’s northeast coast. China restricts food imports from those areas.
Shares of Ryohin Keikaku and Calbee lost more than $213 million in market value Thursday following the CCTV report. Ryohin Keikaku shares rose about 2 percent Friday as of 2:22 p.m. in Tokyo, while Calbee stock gained 0.5 percent.
Muji issued a statement Thursday saying the labels on its products featured in the report showed the location of its Japan headquarters, which is in the region affected by the China restrictions. The company said it doesn’t sell products that contain ingredients from the regions of Japan that are subject to the ban. The company will continue selling its Japanese imported goods that have passed inspections by China, a spokesman said Friday.
Muji has 183 stores in mainland China as of November 2016. It had 27 locations in Shanghai, according to a count of shops on their website.
CCTV didn’t immediately return an inquiry left by Bloomberg News at the station’s hotline number. The Shanghai quarantine bureau said by phone that it was still checking the Shanghai Daily report and couldn’t immediately confirm it.
— With assistance by Gregory Turk, and Grace Huang