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Fraud Alleged at Imported Food Chain

SEATTLE (CN) - An international grocery chain repackaged and sold expired food, used nail polish remover to erase expiration dates, sold food contaminated by mouse feces, dried food in parking lots in violation of health codes, and labeled foreign food as "made in the USA" a class action claims in King County Court.

The six named plaintiff-customers say it was "common practice" for H Mart stores to return expired food to distributor Seoul Trading, where the expiration dates were removed, new dates were stamped, and the "reprocessed" old products were sent back to the stores.

The plaintiffs say numerous customers became sick after eating "expired foods that were moldy, spoiled, and unfit for human consumption."

H Mart specializes in imported Asian and Hispanic foods and has stores in 13 states and Canada.

Operators of two local H-Marts, Ah Reum Mart and Han Ah Reum Market, are also named as defendants, in addition to H Mart Companies and Seoul Trading.

The class seeks restitution, an injunction, costs and damages for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranty and consumer law violations. They are represented by Karl Y. Park of Federal Way, Wash.

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