The popular bakery chain BreadTalk has denied allegations of improper food-handling practices after local reporters claimed that employees at a Shenzhen outlet allowed cooking oil to be used over and over again for months.
The claims came about after a reporter posing as an employee secretly recorded the working practices at a store in the city’s Nanshan district. The undercover footage was aired on an episode of Shenzhen Fazhi Shikong on August 12, and the findings were about as unsavory as those pastries they stuff hotdogs in and drizzle with (apparently “unsterilized”) mayonnaise.
The Nanfang elaborates:
The undercover reporter discovered that the BreadTalk store was reusing cooking oil used to fry doughnuts, with some of the oil said to be in the system for months. As seen on the hidden camera footage, the correspondent was able to capture another employee saying, “The oil is used repeatedly and we will add new oil into the tank if it’s not enough.” Another employee said the store will only add new oil whenever an inspector shows up at the store.
[…] The correspondent found that when jars of bread condiments for sale were found to have gone past their expiry dates, BreadTalk staff would exchange their tags for newer ones instead of throwing them out. “Morning-shift staff will inspect the sauces every day and mark the expired ones on labels, but the evening-shift staff will replace them with new labels and continue using the sauces,” said the reporter.
Employees at the BreadTalk store were not in the habit of using vinegar to “sterilize the mayonnaise” used in the store’s popular meat floss bread either, saying, “I’m not going to eat it myself.”
The Singapore-based company has vehemently denied any such professional misconduct and the China Shenzhen Quality Supervision Bureau confirmed that all food-handling practices were compliant with regulations after an investigation was launched.
The bakery also made a point to say that “used oil is discarded each time frying oil is replaced, and the replacement of frying oil has always been conducted within the validity period”, according to Channel News Asia.
BreadTalk, which has around 400 outlets in China, was ensnared in scandal earlier this month when a Singapore employee was photographed pouring Yeo soya bean milk into bottles marked “freshly prepared”. The store stopped selling the drink temporarily and apologized for any “wrong impressions created”.
Last year, a BreadTalk outlet in Shanghai was also on the receiving end of some unwanted attention when a customer photographed a mouse nibbling away at some pastries in a display case.
[Images via Wikimedia // Weibo]