Dear friends and customers,
First of all, we want to apologize for any inconvenience due to Farine's recent closing and our delayed response as we are actively in contact with all parties involved to give the proper explanation.
We want to thank the authorities of Shanghai for their fast and efficient reaction. We fully understand their concern, and we do respect the current investigation.
The Franck Group has worked in Shanghai for more than 10 years, and never had an sanitary or health problem. At Franck's Group we take these matters very seriously.
About the flour we use at Farine, We ship our flour from France and stock it in our warehouse in Shanghai. Due to the delay of Min Hang central kitchen opening, our current flour stock expiry date has exceeded by a few months. We did use a small part of this stock. The use of this small part was based on best used before date, without realizing that China applies a strict earlier expiry date. This is clearly a mistake even though we obtain lab test from supplier to prove absolute safety of using this flour. We sincerely apologize for that and decide to change our internal control process to be in full compliance of Chinese regulations.
Our new flour shipment is due at the beginning of April. Meanwhile we have decided the following:
1) we will fully cooperate / work with the authorities in order to ensure that our production compy with all FDA regulations in the future
2) strengthen supplier and quality control: increase the current team from 2 to 4 People, review and upgrade suppliers list and design a new internal control process to be communicated later
3) disclose in total transparency our work process in the kitchen and welcome all public supervision
4) insure [sic] more traceability of the stock and process of removal of products that may cause problems
Again, please accept our apologies, and be sure that we are collaborating closely with Shanghai authorities to clear this out. We will keep you updated, and we will soon communicate with full transparency about our factory, warehouse, kitchens, and product traceability.
The Farine Management Team
Meanwhile, it has emerged eight people have reportedly 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.
Inspections at Farine facilities.
Speaking to That's over the phone, owner Frank Pécol told us that he is in France on a previously planned trip.
The scandal first unfolded earlier this week after '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.