UPDATE (March 25, 2017 at 2.20am CST): Farine has officially released a statement in response to the food sanitary scandal. Read the full thing here.
Speaking to That's over the phone, Pécol told us it was a previously planned trip and that an official statement is coming "soon." (UPDATE: read it here). Understandably, he sounded pretty downcast.
Meanwhile, eight people have been detained in police custody following an investigation into the company's warehouses. Foreign members of Farine's personnel were among those detained, though they have not been named.
The 'whistle blowing' allegations were published on Weibo by an individual claiming to be an ex-employee of Farine, who mentioned Pécol by name. The 30-year-old employee allegedly began working for Farine in October 2016 and recorded his findings over several weeks. He turned the footage into authorities on March 20, the same day the city introduced some of its most stringent food regulations.
Shanghai's Food and Drug Administration has increased the reward for 'whistle blowers' tipping authorities off to food safety incidents to a lucrative RMB300,000.
All four Farine branches have been temporarily closed following the investigation, and their listings removed from local listing site Dianping. Pécol's namesake restaurant, Franck Bistrot, is also closed until "early next week." As is the rest of the Franck empire — Grains (which also houses WIYF), Rachel's and Far-West — it would seem.
[Image via Shanghai Daily]