New food scandal hard to swallow for KFC, McDonald’s in China

BY Andrew Troast  July 21, 2014 at 6:10 PM EST
Xiamen, China. Photo by Flickr user Sara Yeomans

Xiamen, China. Photo by Flickr user Sara Yeomans

McDonald’s and KFC in China are reeling from another food safety scare Monday after a local TV station reported that a supplier had been selling expired meat to the restaurants.

According to the report , Hushi Food Co. was using expired and contaminated meats in the products they sent to KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut restaurants in China.

McDonald’s and Yum, which owns both KFC and Pizza Hut, apologized and said they immediately stopped using meat from the Hushi supplier as the investigation continues. Hushi Food Co. is owned by the Illinois-based OSI group which has looked to capitalize on growing demand for fast-food overseas.

Chinese television station Dragon TV had an undercover reporter who allegedly found the packaging plant using 18 tons of expired chicken skin to make chicken nuggets. The Dragon TV footage shows workers “picking up food from the floor and throwing it into processing machines.”

This is not the first time in recent years that Yum has faced public image problems. KFC, China’s largest chain restaurant, saw a 37 percent drop in sales last December after reports of suppliers using illegal amounts of antibiotics in their chicken made headlines.

“I think this is going to be really challenging for both these firms,” said Benjamin Cavender, Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group.

“If proven, the practices outlined in the reports are completely unacceptable to McDonald’s anywhere in the world,” a China-based spokeswoman for McDonald’s told Reuters. Both McDonald’s and Yum promised better precautions to ensure high quality meat in their Chinese locations.