A supplier to McDonald’s and KFC in China has been accused of supplying rotting meat and falsifying expiry dates, writes Lucy Hornby.
The Shanghai food safety watchdog said yesterday it had closed a US-owned meat and poultry processor in the outskirts of the city after a television station caught it putting new labels on expired meat.
KFC and McDonald’s apologised to customers.
Generally, foreign food companies are seen in a better light than domestic competitors but local media reports have clouded that reputation.
A probe 18 months ago found excessive antibiotic use by a supplier of poultry to KFC, the fried chicken chain owned by Yum Brands. China accounted for 35 per cent of Yum’s operating profit in 2013.
“Once the news gets out it is going to be difficult for them to convince Chinese consumers that [KFC] can put the needed checks in place on their suppliers,” said Ben Cavendar, analyst at China Market Research.
中国市场研究(China Market Research)的分析师本?凯文德(Ben Cavendar)说：“新闻一旦传出，他们很难再说服中国消费者（肯德基）有能力对供应商进行必要检查。”
Supply chains have scaled up quickly in China and food safety is a perennial issue. But in the latest case the processor, Shanghai Husi Food, a subsidiary of Illinois-based OSI, has been in operation almost two decades.
中国的食品供应链规模扩张迅速，但长期存在食品安全问题。不过在最新这起事故中，涉事加工商上海福喜食品有限公司(Shanghai Husi Food)为总部位于美国伊利诺伊州的OSI集团的子公司，已运营近20年。
“We are working with government departments and an investigation is under way,” said an employee at the Husi plant in the Shanghai suburb of Jiading.
OSI began supplying McDonald’s in China in the early 1990s, when the fast food group ventured into the country only to discover that local supply chains did not exist. It operates eight meat or poultry processing plants in mainland China.
In January Walmart recalled “five spice” donkey meat from stores in China after fox DNA was found.
Yum said on the Weibo instant messaging site it had suspended supply from Husi’s Shanghai plant.
McDonald’s said it had suspended sourcing from the plant, and expected a shortage in some items.
KFC and McDonald’s restaurants in Beijing appeared to be as busy as usual, although some customers said they were sticking with drinks.
“What can you do?” sighed one mother after buying a chicken burger for her son at a McDonald’s in an underground mall in Beijing. “You can only avoid the food for a while.”
Another hamburger muncher snarled: “Can you please not talk about this while I am eating?”