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  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 11:02pm

China Food Scandals

A crisis in confidence in China's food industry emerged after melamine was found in domestically produced baby formula in 2008. The scandal sickened 300,000 babies and resulted in six premature deaths. Other stories of fake eggs, diseased pork, recycled oil, mislabelled meat and more have only led to more calls for industry reform.


Five Husi bosses quizzed by police over 'rotten meat' scandal, as 1,250 tonnes of food seized

Authorities widen investigation to include some of the largest foreign-owned restaurant chains and convenience store franchises

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2014, 4:35am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2014, 3:59pm

Shanghai police were today questioning five executives of the meat processing company at the centre of a scandal involving out-of-date meat used in fast food products.

Preliminary investigations concluded that the food company is suspected of illegal production and operation, according to a joint investigation team by China's food safety watchdog and police.

Investigators have seized a total of 160 tonnes of raw meat as well as 1,107 tonnes of Husi Food products, and the case is under further investigation, Shanghai municipal government said on its website.

Investigators also found a client list of Hsui, which involves nearly 150 companies. Police did not reveal the full list but said it was handed over to the food safety watchdog.

“We uncovered some illegal acts from the company, which are not conducted by individuals but planned and organised by the company,” Gu Zhenhua, the deputy director of Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration, told Xinhua.

Police have been interviewing executives from 22 companies that bought meat from Husi, Xu Wei, a spokesman for the Shanghai municipal government, said yesterday.

About 100 tonnes of Husi products found at nine of the 22 companies - which include McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, Dicos and 7-Eleven - had been sealed as evidence.

Police allege that Husi violated food safety laws and found 5,108 boxes of suspected contaminated goods at the factory, including McNuggets, mini-steaks and pork pies, the municipal government announced on Weibo.

Xu did not release the names of all the companies involved, but international fast-food chains and convenience stores operating on the mainland were quick to distance themselves from Husi, either by denying they sourced products from the company or withdrawing Husi-made products from their shelves.

Japanese noodle chain Yoshinoya issued a statement saying that Husi was not its supplier. Convenience store operator 7-Eleven said it had no "direct cooperation" with Husi, but took two products off its shelves after checking with its supplier and finding the products may have contained ingredients sourced from Husi.

Watch: China 'rotten meat' factory quality manager: It was a company policy

An investigative news programme on Shanghai's Dragon TV on Sunday claimed that Husi, owned by privately held OSI Group of Illinois, in the US, had falsified expiry dates on some of its meat products.

The meat, reportedly already green and odorous, was reprocessed, refrozen and repackaged with new expiry dates. The report showed workers picking up meat from the floor before throwing it into processing machines.

Husi's production plant in Jiading district was shut down and municipal food inspectors were investigating the premises.

A Husi employee told the South China Morning Post that the company was investigating who took the video and how it was released to the media.

Li Weihua, deputy director of the Franchise Research Centre at the China University of Political Science and Law, doubted the scandal's impact would last long.

"These big foreign brands will start public relations campaigns to restore their image in the China market," Li said.

"At the same time, Chinese consumers tend to be forgetful. There are still long queues at some McDonald's and KFC restaurants in the days following the programme."

Jiang Yuan, a customer at a KFC outlet in Zhabei district, said he was not concerned.

"These food scares, no matter how shocking, no longer raise my eyebrows as I have become numb," he said. "I don't have confidence in Chinese food inspectors, and I'm sure many restaurants have been doing lousy things that go undiscovered."


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This article is now closed to comments

Further evidence of corruption at any cost, in this case, yet again, at that the expense of customers' health. How utterly disgusting.
Interesting that the company is investigating who took the video rather than how this was allowed to happen ... None of this is particularly surprising.
The workers are paid too little to care.
Yet another reason to steer clear of fast food. It's bad enough putting up with poor quality food on sale at the Chinese markets and supermarkets without taking the risk of consuming poisonous junk in places like McDonalds and KFC.
I have a terrible feeling Jiang Yuan may be right but personally I think it's better to significantly reduce the amount of fast food that we consume. Aside from being unhealthy and downright dangerous, you are contributing to corruption.
Nothing is what it seems in China. So far, the story is very one sided & sounds like a propaganda campaign. We've heard this before. No independent verification and reporting so take the story with a pinch of salt for now
No question that fast food is unhealthy.
But a state-owned broadcaster manages a particularly noteworthy scoop on the awful practices of a U.S.-owned food manufacturer that supplies foreign-owned fast-food chains...
Gonna bet here that Husi has some princeling investment connection and many restaurant chains were either forced to buy from them for some reason or other or they did it for the guanxi potential.
Or Husi was "certified" as a "model #1 reliable" company that firms had to contract with because in order to get into the fast food business, one could only source supplies from "certified" suppliers. Which was...Husi.
Always best to become a vegetarian when visiting China! This rotten meat is an apt allegory for the state of the Government's pathetic attempts to stem corruption. The milk powder scam is still reverberating around the world. Mainland parents simply don't trust their internal supplies and innocent parents and their lawyers have been imprisoned because of lack of accountability. This is another huge scandal but it'll soon be suppressed and it'll be business as usual.
Those officials who are responsible for food hygiene must also be brought into account. Private enterprises simply cannot be trusted to be left to themselves entirely, however big the name may be. I suspect the whole thing simply got revealed because some Chinese staff inside secretly informed the reporter who did the private investigation. How else would the reporter engage in the covert operation in the first place?



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