• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 12:51pm
NewsHong Kong

'Rotten meat' firm licensed to supply to Hong Kong; lawmakers call for tests on mainland imports

Shanghai Husi Food Company, shut down after allegations it reused rotten meat and falsified expiry labels, said it was licensed to supply to Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 2:42pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 7:50pm

Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety today said its records suggest that no meat from a Shanghai factory at the centre of a food safety scandal had been imported into the territory this year, as evidence emerged that tainted food was sold in Japan.

After enquiries made by the Post, the Centre said it had no records of meat imports this year from the Shanghai Husi Food Company, which was closed down on Sunday. But the centre refused to comment when asked if meat from the company could have reached Hong Kong prior to this year. 

Mainland food safety authorities are investigating reports that the company reprocessed rotten meat and falsified expiry dates on some products sold to international chains such as McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.

The factory was licensed to export to both Hong Kong and Japan, according to its website.

READ: China food scandal spreads to Japan as Burger King, Starbucks admit using tainted supplier

McDonald's Japan today admitted that the company had sourced about a fifth of its Chicken McNuggets from Shanghai Husi and that it had halted sales of the product on Monday. Alternative supplies of chicken have been found in Thailand and China, a spokesman added.

The Hong Kong centre said it would check with mainland counterparts for any evidence that Husi meat made it into the city.

Watch: China supplier of KFC, McDonald's accused of using rotten meat in fast-food products

Hong Kong lawmakers on Tuesday urged the government to step up safety tests on meat products imported from the mainland, with one legislator calling for “every batch” of meat to be tested from now on.

Currently the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department only conducts sporadic tests on random samples of imported meat as long as the products are with licensed importers and have passed local safety tests, with official certificates issued by local authorities recognised by the Hong Kong government.

Steven Ho Chun-yin, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council’s food safety and environmental hygiene panel, said the government should enhance its safety tests on imported meat from the mainland to make Hongkongers feel secure.

Ho, who represents the agriculture and fisheries sector, said although it required additional resources, the government should ease people’s concerns and ensure them that they are consuming safe meat by conducting tests on a wider range of samples from every batch of meat imported from the mainland.

He cited the government’s heightened safety tests on food products from Japan in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and the following radiation leaks as an example.

“Although expired meat is not as bad as radiation leaks, it’s still serious,” he said.

The panel’s chairman, Democratic Party’s Helena Wong Pik-wan, agreed and said the government should also conduct research on the market to see if any of the expired meat from the closed factory had been used by any local restaurants.

The factory processed 25,000 tonnes of food annually, according to its own figures. Earlier this year, it received a food safety award from Jiading district.

On Monday, McDonald’s and Yum Brands, the owner of KFC and Pizza Hut franchises, announced they had stopped sourcing meat from Husi. They issued an apology and said their restaurants in China could now face a shortage of certain products.

Chinese fast-food restaurant chain Dicos said it had withdrawn breakfast sandwiches from its menu because its ham was previously sourced from Husi.

Swedish retailer Ikea also said it had bought chicken meat for its mainland branches from the factory between September 2012 and August last year.

The Hong Kong branches of McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway and Starbucks have all denied sourcing meat from Husi.

Burger King and Saizeriya, reported to be partners of Husi’s parent company, the Illinois-based OSI Group, could not be reached for comment.

OSI has apologised to customers, saying it has set up an investigation team and was fully cooperating with inspections conducted by the authorities.

The privately owned group, which has close to 60 manufacturing facilities worldwide and had revenue of over US$5 billion in 2012, has been supplying McDonald’s in China since 1992 and Yum since 2008, according to its website.


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This article is now closed to comments

Brace for the worst people and do reminisce what kind of food you have ingested into your system ever since the handover and cross border markets opened between the mainland and HK. Soya sauce made from human hair and moon cakes recycled from previous years that are sold to consume are tales that pale in comparison with what's really happening in the can of worms that is yet to be opened.
Nothing is safe because not everything can be screened and almost majority of provisions ARE from the mainland. Unless you are rich and buys and eat only imported goods from developed countries, don't expect to have a high life expectancy. Even if you are paranoid enough to avoid all the tainted provision from the PRC, you will have to order Michael Jackson's oxygen chamber as a countermeasure for the toxic air blowing from the north. The HK observatory quality index is a joke and high means critical in international standard. So be prepared to welcome cancer.
Compounded by the screaming and obnoxious stampeding from our cousin tourists, the subtle daily pressure adds the final touch of finesse in the building of a perfect city of doom that pride itself to be the world class financial hub, disregarding the question if you can live long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor. :)
John Adams
Every time there are Mainland food and drug scandals the situation gets worse for every company in these industries, which includes the "good guys" in the PRC who don't break rules (but who are indirectly harmed by the "bad guys" ) .
The only way to stop this is to make such offences a capital punishment .
USA - based OSI should be banned forever from China and if they have any American national managers still in China they should be locked up for a VERY long time .
Ant Lee
Food is only one of the many aspects of "mainland chinese" way of life coming into Hong Kong.
Yet another anecdote to add to our cocktail conversations....
And the irony is in Hk supermarkets you will be paying premium for even tainted meat because there is no effective competition law (as I am told).
Industrialization and globalization of our food supply in its early stage in 70s in US and in full strength nowadays is to justify the maximum profit for our food supplier. The strive for maximum profits is being downplayed with threatening hint human will starve without changing our traditional way in producing our food. Not within our sight and smell, food industrialists cobble up anything substituting real genuine food from our table and mouth. We raise our protest or abstain when a scandal breaks but only to fall into another one that yet to be a scandal in the future.
We are being brainwashed by the food industrialists that we must give up our food supply locally because we can’t feed everyone. The logic has gone the other way that more food we can produce the more population we can support. In Hong Kong the property developers would tell you to move up the food chain of wealth by planting concrete housing instead planting rice and vegetables or raising pigs, fish and cattle
Health aside just even the taste of industrialized. food is a turned off for me. Since a diner seeing my tomato was picked from its stem in a vegetable field in my visit in France countryside, I never again eat another one that is prematurely picked and transported long distance from California to be consumed in New York City. I know my life can be better but missing locally produced food I must. We all have been shamelessly and murderously lied to really about what we put in our mouth.


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