Wal-Mart Stores outlets in the Chinese city of Chongqing have been temporarily closed following an investigation into fraudulently labelled pork.

The 12 stores will be shut for two weeks amid accusations that 63,547kg of ordinary pork was sold as organic, or “green” pork, generating CNY730,000 of illegal income, said Huang Bo, director of the Chongqing Administration of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) yesterday (9 October).

A statement on Wal-Mart China’s website apologised to shoppers and announced that some staff had been detained by the Chongqing Public Security Bureau.

“We were officially directed by the Chongqing Administration of Industry and Commerce to temporarily close some of our stores in Chongqing for a period of 15 days”, it said.

“A taskforce from Wal-Mart China headquarters was sent to Chongqing to work closely with the respective stores and the local officials of the CAIC immediately after notification of the investigation several days ago. They are leading the Wal-Mart commitment to ensuring our stores in Chongqing follow Wal-Mart’s strict inspection and management policies and taking all necessary steps to ensure this does not recur.”

Wal-Mart has also been fined CNY2.69m (US$423,000) for the offence.

Huang added that Wal-Mart has been punished by the local government 21 times since the company entered the city in 2006.