A man who blew the whistle on a food safety scandal that rocked Shanghai earlier this year says that he was forced to leave town after being blacklisted from finding another job.
Back in March, the unnamed man went public with his allegations against his former employer, the popular Farine bakery chain. On Weibo, he wrote that while working at Farine’s flagship Wukang Lu shop, the bakery had a policy of using expired and even moldy flour in making its premium bread products. In the scandalous post, he even mentioned Farine founder Franck Pécol by name.
The whistleblower also alleged that the bakery’s kitchen was plagued with hygiene problems, including mold and even rats that frolicked across the floor each night. Along with his post, the ex-employee included evidence in the form of a series of videos that he had secretly filmed inside the kitchen while he worked at the shop.
Soon after, health inspectors raided Farine’s shops and factory in Shanghai, discovering that the chain had indeed been using expired flour. All of the bakery’s locations were swiftly closed and some staff members were arrested. One French baker remains in jail awaiting trial.
While the scandal may have destroyed Farine, it also wasn’t great for the whistleblower’s career aspirations. Afterward, he discovered that no other bakeries in the city would hire him.
“I hoped to find a job as a baker in Shanghai, but it is impossible to continue working and I was blocked and insulted by former colleagues,” Shine quotes the man as saying.
Though he was eventually forced to move back to his hometown in Liaoning province to find work, the whistleblower told reporters that he still did not regret what he had done.
In a bit of good news for the man, Shanghai authorities announced that he will be compensated to the tune of 5% of whatever amount is involved in the Farine case — though it’s not clear how much that will be.
Meanwhile, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said that it had received 784 food safety tip-offs this year with whistleblowers receiving 273,600 yuan in total for their tips.