If 2013 was the year of the Ikea meat scandal, 2014 is kicking off similarly terribly for Walmart and its meat—specifically, its donkey meat. At issue is its "Five Spice" donkey meat, which was sold to customers in China. Officials in eastern Shandong province last month said that the product actually contained fox meat, and Walmart today announced it would recall the product after DNA testing identified the presence of other animals. Those who bought it will be paid out the equivalent of $8.25. Walmart, for its part, says it will take some action: It's digging into the donkey meat manufacturer, and Reuters reports that a senior employee of the meat supplier has been detained. Upping the ick factor: The Christian Science Monitor reports that while donkey is a delicacy in China, fox meat ... smells "rank," and comes cheap, with fur-farmers looking to unload the otherwise unusable carcasses.
Grosser still, the Monitor points to a Quartz article that notes meat manufacturers try to get away with using fox by also using Chinese products like "Fish-Smell Removal King," whose website proclaims that "Getting rid of the fishy smell of fox meat is one of the hardest tasks in the world!" The Wall Street Journal and Reuters point out that this isn't Walmart's first food flap in the country: In 2011, it was fined for selling duck meat beyond its expiration date; last year, officials claimed it was making baked goods using expired eggs. The latest development is no doubt an unwelcome one for Walmart, which intends to open 110 more stores on top of its current 359 in what is the world's No. 1 grocery market. A China market research group estimates that in three years, Walmart's market share has dropped to 5.2% from 7.5%. (Read more Walmart stories.)