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China food scandal spreads: Old meat, meat off floor, sent to fast-food giants

China food scandal grows as tainted chicken and meat used at fast-food restaurants.
China food scandal grows as tainted chicken and meat used at fast-food restaurants.
Japan Times/ Facebook

The food scandal in China is growing and more companies are feeling the wrath of a food supplier who used expired meat and even meat that had come off the floor that was shipped to top fast-food chains. Starbucks and McDonald's, along with other chain restaurants had taken delivery of these tainted shipments and unknowingly used them in their fast-food products, according to Reuters on July 22.

Starbucks announced today that it had previously used chicken from the Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, which is a unit of the U.S.-based OSI Group LLC. That chicken was among the tainted batches of expired chicken and they had used it at their Starbuck's in some of their chicken products.

According to the Chicago Tribune today, McDonald's released a statement in which they said they felt "deceived." Both McDonald's Corp and KFC's Yum Brands Inc released a statement of apology to the public after unknowingly using the tainted meat from the supplier in question in their fast-food products.

It was the media that brought attention to the conditions inside this giant meat and chicken supplier. A TV report showed the workers at the plant using outdated meat in the products ready to ship out to some of the most popular fast-food restaurants on the planet. The cameras also caught employees picking up the meat that had been dropped on the floor and adding it to the shipment.

This TV report caught the eye of the regulators in China and they were off and running to investigate. Apparently what they found was not acceptable food safety and shut the plant down. They also put a stop on using the products that it had recently shipped.

The Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd has been closed down and China's food watchdog has sent out officials from its regional offices to make sure the tainted meat is not being used.

They are investigating the various fast-food companies to make sure that the meat and chicken that came from the tainted food source is removed from their inventory. That didn't seem to be a problem for the companies who had been supplied the tainted meat, reports indicate that the meat and chicken in question was quickly removed from places like Starbucks, McDonald's and more.

The watchdogs will also inspect all of parent OSI's sites around China to make sure they have done enough to ensure food safety in the future. This case of the expired meat being shipped to the various fast-food restaurants may be handed over to the police.