Wal-Mart To Invest $25 Million In Chinese Food-Safety Research
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and its foundation are investing $25 million in food-safety research in China over five years, as the world’s largest retailer seeks to strengthen its foothold in the country more than two years after it was hit by high-profile product scandals.
The funding, together with the Walmart Foundation, will support projects in applied science, education and communications, according to the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer at a briefing held in Beijing, where it also launched the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center to bring together local and international research.
“By bringing together the best food-safety thinkers from across the food ecosystem, from farmers to suppliers, retailers to policy regulators, we’ll accelerate food-safety awareness and help make Chinese families safer and healthier,” Wal-Mart chief executive officer Doug McMillon said at the event in Beijing.
Wal-Mart, which is overhauling its business globally to meet the challenge from e-commerce, had struggled over the years to adapt its stores to meet Chinese consumers’ tastes and compete with local online grocery providers. Earlier this month, the retailer boosted its stake in China’s second-largest e-commerce website, JD.com, Inc., strengthening its Chinese presence after its sales were hit in 2014 by a series of food scares.
The new centre will facilitate research in areas such as the root causes of food-borne illnesses and developing solutions for China’s food supply chain. It also announced three projects, including one that brings US and Chinese academics together with local poultry producers Fujian Shengnong Food Co., New Hope Liuhe Co. and Guangzhou Jiangfeng Industry Co. to study safety in poultry supply chains.
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