July 22, 2014
McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut in China say they have suspended orders from a supplier amid claims it sold them out-of-date beef and chicken.
A television news report featured video footage of staff in white suits at a meat processing factory run by Shanghai-based Husi Food Company allegedly picking up and using meat and hamburger patties that had fallen onto the floor.
Packages of chicken wings and breasts showed a shelf life of six days, but the parts had been expired by almost half a month, the report claimed.
When an undercover journalist for Shanghai-based Dragon TV asked if the meat could still be used, a member of staff replied: "No worries. Move it up (the production line)."
The report showed the meat being sent to the production line and transformed into Chicken McNuggets.
The footage also showed one employee handling out-of-date beef and calling it "stinky meat".
Chinese authorities have ordered the company to suspend its operations while the claims are investigated.
Officials also seized products which allegedly had been made using expired meat, the Shanghai food and drug administration said in a statement.
McDonald's—and Yum Brands, which owns the KFC and Pizza Hut franchises—said they had immediately stopped using meat from the firm and were conducting their own probes. "Food safety is a top priority for McDonald's," the company said in a statement, adding that it pursues "strict compliance" with consumer safety laws and regulations and has "zero tolerance for illegal behavior.”
China's Xinhua news agency cited a Husi manager, Yang Liqun, who said the firm has a strict quality control system and was co-operating in the investigation.
KFC, which is China's biggest restaurant chain with 4,000 outlets and has plans to open 700 more, has faced food safety issues in China before.
In 2012, authorities found excessive levels of antibiotics in chicken it sourced from local suppliers.
Other customers of Husi Food include Burger King, Papa John's Pizza and coffee chain Starbucks, according to the Shanghai Daily newspaper.
Furniture maker Ikea told the South China Morning Post it stopped using the company's products in August 2013, while sandwich maker Subway also denied using meat from the firm.
It is the latest product scandal to hit China. Infants, hospital patients and others have been killed by contaminated milk powder, drugs and other goods in the past decade.
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