McDonald’s HK Pulls Chicken Nuggets Off Menu

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South China Morning Post

July 25, 2014

Fast food chain suspends sales after admitting selling meat from tainted Shanghai processor

McDonald's Hong Kong suspended sales of its popular chicken nuggets after admitting it had imported chicken and pork from the Shanghai food processing plant at the center of a "rotten meat" scandal.

The company said it would also stop selling McSpicy chicken filets; fresh corn cup; iced fresh lemon tea; and green salad and chicken salad.

"We will continue to offer other products apart from the above mentioned. Nevertheless, vegetable ingredients in certain products would be temporarily unavailable," it said in a statement.

The government earlier announced an immediate ban on the import and sales of products from Husi Food Company. Tainted meat may have also been sold to other global chains, such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

Assistant director of food and environmental hygiene Dr. Lee Siu-yuen said any Husi food already in Hong Kong would be sealed and stored in warehouses.

The ban on meat from Husi, owned by the Illinois-based OSI Group, will remain pending an inquiry by mainland food-safety authorities. The inquiry was prompted by reports that rotten meat had been reprocessed and repackaged with new expiry dates at the Shanghai plant.

Lee urged importers and vendors with Husi food not to sell it and to report it to the department. She said the government had contacted McDonald's after the scandal broke.

The authorities were told that it had imported cooked chicken leg meat in May from Husi's Shanghai plant, and that from July to December last year it had imported 10 batches of frozen pork from the Shanghai plant.

All the products had been sold, the department was told.

McDonald's Hong Kong previously denied having imported any food products from the Shanghai plant. Yesterday, it apologized to its customers for the "confusion" and said the food currently being served in the city was not from Shanghai Husi.

Legislator Alice Mak Mei-kuen of the Federation of Trade Unions accused McDonald's of attempting a cover-up. "It looks like [McDonald's] was trying to cheat customers. It is totally unacceptable," said Mak, who said she would raise the issue at a food safety and environmental hygiene panel meeting.

The food scare broke when a Shanghai broadcaster, Dragon TV, reported that Husi repackaged old beef and chicken and put new expiration dates on them. It said they were sold to McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants.

The scare has also spread to Japan, where McDonald's said 20% of the meat for its chicken nuggets was supplied by Husi.

In an effort to dispel fears, Lee said Center for Food Safety officers had visited major fast food chains' outlets in the past few days and inspected more than 1,000 food samples. The hygiene condition was satisfactory, she said.

The food chains inspected included KFC, Starbucks, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Yoshinoya and Ikea Restaurant.

OSI Group chief executive officer Sheldon Lavin apologized to "all of our customers in China." He said the incident "was terribly wrong" and "I am appalled that it ever happened in the company that I own."

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