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Husi beef and chicken scandal spreads to fast food chains in China and Japan

McDonald's restaurant in Beijing.
McDonald's restaurant in Beijing.
Photo by Kevin Lee/Getty Images

Authorities in China have sealed off Husi Food Company’s processing plant in Shangai after finding that the company reportedly sold expired, repackaged beef and chicken to numerous food chains including Starbucks,Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut. Dicos, another restaurant chain based in Taiwan has also stopped using Husi meat,as has Papa John’s International, Inc. A local television program also showed video of employees at the plant picking up meat from the floor and adding it to the processed food.The meat scandal has also spread to Japan, where McDonald’s Corporation immediately stopped marketing McNuggets at its more than 1,300 restaurants after noting that Husi had “provided 20% of the chicken used in them.

In the meantime, Husi (which is owned by OSI Group of Aurora, IL) issued a statement saying it was “Appalled by the reports, and believes that this is an isolated incident.” The company also pledged to cooperate with the investigation and “take appropriate action swiftly and comprehensively to resolve the problem.”

While old beef and chicken may not be healthy to eat, a new study published in yesterday’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that “raising beef is more harmful to the environment that raising pork or poultry.” Not only do cows produce vast amounts of methane, the study’s lead author, Gidon Eshel claims that beef “produces 5 times more heat-trapping gases per calorie, and that it takes 11 times more water and 28 times more land to support the cattle than it does to raise other animals used for food (including the dairy and egg industries). The report brought an immediate response from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s sustainability director Kim Stackhouse, who called Eshel’s study an “oversimplification of the complex systems that make up the beef value chain,” and added that the industry has been working hard to make itself more “environmentally friendly.”