Appliance giant Midea recalls clay cooker
Appliance giant Midea was forced to recall an electric cooker and apologize to customers after it was revealed that the product was made with ordinary clay instead of purple clay.
The company promoted the cooker as being made from purple clay. Such cookers are generally rich in iron because the clay is extracted from deep underground and is permeable. But a report by the China Central Television (CCTV) said the cooker was indeed made of ordinary clay.
"Midea has provided inaccurate information in the promotion. We sincerely apologize to customers," a statement issued by the company Sunday said.
The appliance is used to cook soup, congee or meat.
The statement said customers could return the product to stores. The general manager responsible for manufacturing was dismissed.
The company said they will launch an investigation and said the CCTV report was helpful.
The CCTV report said that a factory in Hunan Province, which provided the inner containers for Midea, used black clay, red earth and white clay imported from other provinces, such as Guangdong and Yunnan, to make the container.
Special processing was done to make the container look purple, the report said.
The Global Times found that the cooker in question has been removed from supermarkets in Beijing including Carrefour, Wal-Mart and Ito-Yokado.
"We were told by the company this morning, and then all the purple clay cookers were sent to the warehouse, waiting for further notice," a worker from Wal-Mart's Wanda branch told the Global Times Monday.
Customers could return the product to designated recall centers, including supermarkets where they made the purchase.
Despite being eligible for a refund, customers said their confidence in the company was jeopardized.
"I believed that Midea's products are reliable, so most kitchen appliances in my kitchen are Mideas. It is not only a shame for the company, but a threat to product reputation," a woman surnamed Zhao told the Global Times Monday.
Many appliance manufacturers promoted their cooker as being made of purple clay and with slogans of "natural purple clay," or "healthy purple clay."
The price of such cookers ranges from about 100 yuan ($14.6) to more than 1,000 yuan ($146).
Dozens of factories are responsible for processing the inner container of the purple clay cookers in Chaozhou of South China's Guangdong Province, which enjoys the reputation as being the porcelain capital in China. They produce hundreds of thousands of containers a day at a cost of less than 20 yuan ($2.9).