hina’s latest food safety scandal continues to rage on with the principal of Shanghai SMIC Private School being sacked and another two schools ordered to cut ties with a catering service after investigators discovered more expired and fake products in the schools’ cafeterias.
The whole thing began on Friday when parents of children attending SMIC inspected the school’s cafeteria, discovering moldy tomatoes and expired seasonings. The parents reported their findings to the local authorities who launched an investigation into the cafeterias of schools across the city.
SMIC’s cafeteria was operated by Shanghai Eurest Food Technologies Services Company, a local unit of the global catering giant Compass, the world’s biggest catering firm. Shanghai Eurest provides food to 28 schools in Shanghai, including some of the city’s top international schools. SMIC, for instance, has students from 25 different countries around the world with tuition and fees costing more than 100,000 yuan ($14,400) a year.
After carrying out inspections, the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that they had discovered issues at two additional schools serviced by Shanghai Eurest: the Shanghai SMIC Kindergarten, where a bottle of seasoning with fake labeling was found, and Concordia International School Shanghai, where a bottle of expired flavoring was found in the cafeteria and expired bread discovered outside in the garbage bin.
Those two schools have been ordered to join SMIC in cutting ties with Shanghai Eurest, however, the rest of the more than dozen schools can continue using their services. Meanwhile, authorities also announced that the principal of SMIC would be dismissed. While many Chinese netizens have complained about the principal being left off too lightly, officials have promised that “severe punishment” will be imposed if an investigation into the school uncovers evidence of criminal activities.
In a statement published on the Chinese website of its parent company, Shanghai Eurest has apologized to students and families, vowing to help authorities conduct a thorough investigation while also conducting additional training on food safety in order to improve its services.
Nothing gets China’s middle class more up in arms than food, drug, and health safety scandals involving children, particularly well-off kids in the country’s top urban centers. In response to this latest mess, authorities are launching food safety inspections at all schools across the city.