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FOOD

Tainted chicken not supplied to Hong Kong, says KFC

After food scare on mainland, fast-food outlet KFC says it uses different supplier in the city

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 January, 2013, 4:25am
 

Officials from fast-food chain KFC in Hong Kong have moved to reassure customers they have nothing to worry about despite a recent mainland food scare.

Last month on the mainland KFC was supplied with chicken that contained excessive amounts of antibiotics, a mainland government report said.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) said eight of 19 batches of samples sent by KFC owner Yum! Brands for testing in 2010 and 2011 were found to contain the excessive antibiotics.

An investigation is under way to determine whether Yum! Brands took corrective measures at that time, and the company, based in the US state of Kentucky, may face harsh penalties if the inquiry shows laws were broken.

A spokeswoman for KFC in Hong Kong denied their chicken posed a health risk. No chicken was imported from the mainland, she said, and the supplier, the Liuhe group, was not a supplier for KFC in the city.

"All chicken pieces of KFC here adhere to the Hong Kong government's food safety policies to ensure that the raw ingredients comply with safety and health standards," she said.

The spokeswoman said Hong Kong KFC was associated solely with the brand's Asia franchise business unit, an entity distinct from Yum! China, and only imported ingredients from the franchise unit's approved suppliers.

Earlier last week, Yum! Brands apologised to customers in China over its handling of the food scare.

"We regret shortcomings in our self-checking process and the lack of internal communication," Su Jingshi, chairman and chief executive of Yum! China, wrote on the company's Weibo microblog. Su also apologised for the failure to report its own test results to the government.

KFC was introduced to Hong Kong in 1985 by Swire Marketing and taken over in 1997 by Birdland (Hong Kong) - a franchisee of Yum! Brands.

KFC has over 70 outlets in Hong Kong, and more than 3,000 employees.

Yum! Brands, which gets more than half its revenue from China, said bad publicity from the safety review of its chicken suppliers had hit sales on the mainland harder than expected in the fourth quarter.

A spokesman for the company said it had ceased using the supplier before the official probe was announced, after internal tests showed it was not meeting Yum! Brands' standards.

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