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China food scandal spreads: Rotten meat scandal pulls in other big name eateries

China food scandal spreads: Rotten meat scandal pulls in other big name eateries
China food scandal spreads: Rotten meat scandal pulls in other big name eateries
Raw Chicken / Wikimedia Commons

An expired meat food scandal in China, initially thought limited to McDonald’s and KFC, has now pulled in an additional fast food giant and a popular coffee house – Burger King and Starbucks. After learning that a Chinese-based supplier sold expired meat to Yum Brands Inc., which own McD’s and KFC, other big-name chains have announced that they too were recipients of the rotten meat products.

Reports Reuters news service on July 22: “McDonald's Corp and KFC's parent Yum Brands Inc. apologized to Chinese customers on Monday after it emerged that Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, a unit of U.S.-based OSI Group LLC, had supplied expired meat to the two chains. On Tuesday, Starbucks said some of its cafes previously sold products containing chicken originally sourced from Shanghai Husi, a firm that was shut down on Sunday by local regulators after a TV report showed staff using expired meat and picking up meat from the floor to add to the mix.”

This latest occurrence underscores the troubles encountered in attempting to ensure that meat supply chains in China adhere to quality and safety standards. Earlier this year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. made the news after one of their suppliers was found to be passing off fox for donkey meat.

McDonald’s said that about one fifth of all of the meat used to make chicken McNuggets in Japanese locations was sourced from the rotten product shipped from Shanghai Husi. “Alternative supplies” of meat were brought in temporarily, a spokesperson with McDonald's Holdings Co. said.

Other overseas restaurants have also been affected by the meat shipments, though none of the rotten product made it into retail. Pizza Hut sealed off over 500 boxes of beef, and Dicos, China's third-ranked fast food chain, has removed all Shanghai Husi products, as has Papa John's International Inc.

Writes Reuters:

Food safety is one of the top issues for Chinese consumers after a scandal in 2008 where dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of six infants and made many thousands sick. Other food scandals have hit the meat and dairy industries in recent years, and many Chinese look to foreign brands as offering higher safety standards.