|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. Shanghai food and drug administration has suspended the operation of the food company suspected of supplying stale meat to McDonald and KFC outlets. (Xinhua/Pei Xin)|
SHANGHAI, July 21 -- Fast food chains have stopped using products supplied by a Shanghai meat processing plant over allegations that it was supplying stale meat and mislabeling expiration dates.
Shanghai-based Dragon TV aired a news program on Sunday claiming that Shanghai Husi Food Co., Ltd had supplied products tainted with reprocessed stale meat to a string of fast food chains and restaurants across China.
The expose is another blow to western fast food chains like McDonald's and KFC, which have been implicated in a number of food safety scandals involving suppliers over the years.
McDonald's issued a statement over the alleged malpractice at Husi saying it had stopped using all food materials supplied by the meat processor. Yum Brands Inc. also said its KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants had stopped using meat supplied by the firm.
In a separate statement issued on Monday afternoon, KFC said some of its restaurants in south China's Fujian Province will stop selling certain products due to the food safety incident.
Sandwich chain Subway said its restaurants do not use meat products from the company while fast food chain Dicos, owned by Taiwan's Ting Hsin International Group, said it has also stopped selling products containing ham slices supplied by Husi.
Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA said Husi was a meat supplier for the retailer from September 2012 to August 2013. It added that the meat processor no longer provided any food products to IKEA.
Shanghai's municipal food and drug watchdog ordered that production at the company's food processing plant in suburban Shanghai be suspended following the television expose. The watchdog also sent investigators to the plant on Sunday night.
However, security guards blocked regulators' entry into the plant for about two hours, citing a lack of approvals from the firm's senior management.
After entering the plant, investigators had trouble gaining access to production facilities and records and found no expired food at the site.
The undercover reporter involved in the expose told Xinhua that stale meat was witnessed to have been added to products supplied to several fast food chains and expiration dates were extended for some products.
Staff at the food processing plant confirmed that their products have been supplied to McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut.
An electronic board at Husi's processing plant showed the company has operated without a safety incident for 328 days as of July 20. It also promised that all of its raw materials have passed tests by Chinese regulators. It also claimed to be "McDonald's best supplier" in its online hiring ads.
A spokesperson with OSI China, which owns Shanghai Husi Food Co., Ltd, told Xinhua the company would not comment on the TV program but said it would actively assist regulators in the investigation.
A source close to Shanghai's food and drug watchdog told Xinhua that the company, graded as an A-Level enterprise by the local regulator, is subject to two reviews every year. Two sampling tests the company underwent during its review for the first half of this year showed no problems.
"The fact that regulators take action only after violations are exposed suggests that their day-to-day oversight is not effective," said Shen Jianhua, who sits on an expert panel under Shanghai's municipal food safety office.