Authorities in Shanghai have shut down operations at the American-owned meat supplier Shanghai Husi Food Company after it was discovered that the firm, which supplies products to major American fast-food restaurants such as KFC and McDonald's, may have been selling expired chicken and beef.
Working staff seal off a storehouse at Shanghai Husi Food Co., Ltd, a meat supplier for McDonald and KFC, in Shanghai, east China, July 20, 2014. (Xinhua/Pei Xin)
The details were first revealed in an undercover report by the Shanghai-based Dragon TV.
Husi Food Company in Shanghai is a member of the American OSI Group and a supplier of meat products to major American fast-food restaurants throughout China, including KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza hut.
An undercover reporter’s discovery may cause the food giants to lose more than a few customers in China.
"The beef is long past its due date. I never worked at a food processing plant before so I didn’t know better. But now if I went to a KFC or Mcdonald’s restaurant, it wouldn’t taste the same anymore," a Husi Food Co., plant employee said.
Footage shows workers apparently dumping already-made but unused beef patties back onto the production belt, along with raw beef.
And defective chicken nuggets are picked out, but only to be collected and put back onto the production line along with raw chicken.
The reporter allegedly obtained proof showing that the violations are systemic, rather than just limited to a few employees.
What appears to be a company email that was sent this past June, asks production workers to use beef that expired in November last year.
"The company keeps two different books. One is done on the scene according to what happened. The other is done by special personnel for review or examination," a Husi Food Co., whistleblower said.
According to the whistleblower, Husi Food has been cooking the books so that the company could cook whatever it wanted whenever it wanted.
And that is why the violations were not uncovered until now, despite inspection tours by the companies it supplied to.
Following the revelations, the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration closed operations at Husi Food Company and seized meat products suspected of being past their expiration date. Authorities also ordered all meat products at McDonald’s and KFC outlets that were supplied by the firm to be taken off the shelf.
Yesterday, McDonald’s Corp and KFC-owner Yum Brands released an apology to Chinese consumers and said that they will stop using the meat supplier.