Shanghai’s chain of La Farine bakeries has been extremely popular over the years, in large part because of its reputation for producing high-end products made with top-quality flour imported from France. That’s why it caused such a scandal when the entire chain was shut down over allegations that it had been using expired and even moldy flour to make bread. Now four people have been arrested in connection with the scandal.
According to Shanghaiist, the news broke in March when an person claiming to be a former Farine employee went on social media to say that the company had been using expired flour in its fancy products. The “whistleblower” even posted videos showing alleged hygiene problems in the bakery.
After that, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration shut down all the Farine bakeries in Shanghai and seized 578 bags of expired flour from the company’s headquarters.
The company issued a statement saying that it had been a mistake, and that the company was using the “best before” dates issued by the flour manufacturers, not the much tighter expiration dates issued by the Chinese government.
Now four Farine employees--including production director Laurent Daniel Fortin--have been arrested in connection with the scandal. Farine founder Franck Pécol went back to France on a reportedly previously planned trip just as the FDA investigation was beginning.