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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.

NewsHong Kong
FOOD SAFETY

McDonald’s Hong Kong pulls chicken nuggets over supplies from rotten food plant

Fast food chain in Hong Kong suspends sales of popular items after admitting buying goods from Shanghai plant that repackaged old meat

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 2014, 11:41pm

McDonald's Hong Kong on Thursday night suspended sales of its popular chicken nuggets after admitting it had imported chicken and pork from the Shanghai food processing plant at the centre of a rotten meat scandal.

The company said it would also stop selling its McSpicy chicken filets, fresh corn cup, iced fresh lemon tea, and green salad and chicken salad.

"We will continue to offer other products apart from the above mentioned. Nevertheless, vegetable ingredients in certain products would be temporarily unavailable," it said in a statement.

McDonald's Hong Kong previously denied having imported any food products from the Shanghai plant. It apologised to its customers yesterday for the "confusion" and said the food currently being served in the city was not from Shanghai Husi.

"We will keep on taking a proactive approach to follow up with the government authority in a bid to resume supply as early as possible," it said.

The government earlier announced an immediate ban on the import and sales of products from Husi Food Company. Tainted meat may also have been sold to other global chains, such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

Assistant director of food and environmental hygiene Dr Lee Siu-yuen said any Husi food already in Hong Kong would be sealed and stored in warehouses.

The ban on meat from Husi, owned by the Illinois-based OSI Group, will remain pending an inquiry by mainland food-safety authorities. The inquiry was prompted by reports that rotten meat had been reprocessed and repackaged with new expiry dates at the Shanghai plant.

Lee urged importers and vendors with Husi food not to sell it and to report it to the department. She said the government had contacted McDonald's after the scandal broke on Sunday.

The authorities were told that it had imported cooked chicken leg meat in May from Husi's Shanghai plant, and that from July to December last year it had imported 10 batches of frozen pork from the Shanghai plant.

READ: McDonald's plans to continue using scandal-hit meat supplier OSI in mainland China

Despite the suspension, chicken McNuggets were still available at a McDonald's outlet at the Leighton Centre in Causeway Bay at 11.15pm last night. McSpicy chicken filets were also on sale. A member of staff said sales would be suspended "gradually".

Legislator Alice Mak Mei-kuen of the Federation of Trade Unions accused McDonald's of attempting a cover-up.

"It looks like [McDonald's] was trying to cheat customers. It is totally unacceptable," said Mak, who said she would raise the issue at a meeting of the food safety and environmental hygiene panel.

The food scare broke when a Shanghai broadcaster, Dragon TV, reported that Husi repackaged old beef and chicken and put new expiration dates on them. It said they were sold to McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants.

The scare has also spread to Japan, where McDonald's said 20 per cent of the meat for its chicken nuggets was supplied by Husi.

In an effort to dispel fears, Lee said that officers from the Centre for Food Safety had visited the outlets of fast food chains in the past few days and inspected over 1,000 samples. The hygiene condition was satisfactory, she said.

The food chains inspected included KFC, Starbucks, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Yoshinoya and Ikea Restaurant.

OSI Group chief executive officer Sheldon Lavin apologised to "all of our customers in China". He said the incident "was terribly wrong" and "I am appalled that it ever happened in the company that I own".

Five Husi executives were reported to have been questioned by Shanghai police.

McDonald’s Japan said on Friday it would halt all imports of chicken products from China and shift that business to Thailand, boosting purchases from existing suppliers McKey Foods Services and Cargill Thailand.

McDonald’s Japan said earlier this week that it sourced about a fifth of its Chicken McNuggets from Shanghai Husi and had halted sales of the product on Monday.

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This article is now closed to comments

ejmciii
Imagine what they would find in Causeway bay or mong kok. Perish the thought that local food outlets would take lower grade pork......sorry was too funny.
raymondspchu
The funny thing is that almost NO news coverage in the US on this scandal. The little coverage by Reuters almost presented the case as a result of rotten meat supplied by a Chinese controlled company, against the fact that the company is a subsidiary of a major US corporation.
pragmatist
Punish OSI executives....prosecute in China for crimes against humanity.
norodnik
This tragedy is certainly not the fault of McDonald's nor any of the other victims. However, this is does not exonerate McDonald's for selling a truly disgusting product regardless whether the meat is rancid or not. McNuggets are just horrible. The Colonel has nothing to fear from the red-nosed clown when it comes to whole piece chicken meat.
pragmatist
Shame on McD. Time for BIG fines and jailtime?
syn
Just wanted to pop in here to the comments and say that I, too, like many of you, are way too good and smart of a person to eat at McDonalds. Glad other people who like it are in trouble now, they deserve it, probably.
syn
Should have known humor and sarcasm wouldn't go over well on here with the psychotic comments people actually take seriously.
BabyMan
Why not raise price in HK 10% and source from Australia or NZ?
jayb
the issue is not sourcing or country of sourcing. it is about the ingredients and processing of fast food. whether it's from Australia, Canada, US, UK, it is unhealthy. one reason why US Dept. of Health, US Dept of Education and all reputable health organisations around the world warned against consumption of these "food".
jayb
what is REALLY in your McD McNuggets?
according to McD's own "nutrition" guide
Autolyzed yeast extract (MSG like substance),
Sodium phosphates and Sodium aluminum phosphate (meaning salt and more salt)
hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ (preservatives. a known carcinogen with side effects including delirium)
citric acid (more preservatives)
Dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent, foaming? WT????!!)
good luck and good night.

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