McDonald's Hong Kong imported meat from factory at centre of rotten food scandal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 July, 2014, 3:27am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 2014, 3:32am

McDonald’s Hong Kong said on Thursday it would suspend the sales of five popular menu items available in the city in the wake of the "rotten meat" scandal.

In a statement released on Thursday night, McDonalds said it would suspend the sale of Chicken McNuggets, McSpicy Chicken Filet, Fresh Corn Cup, Iced Fresh Lemon Tea and Green and Chicken Salads, as they contained ingredients supplied by the food processing company at the heart of scandal.

This comes after the Hong Kong’s government confirmed that McDonald's Hong Kong imported chicken and pork from the Husi Shanghai food processing plant at the centre of the food safety scandal.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department on Thursday announced that the city has suspended all imports of food products from Husi Food Company, owned by the Illinois-based OSI Group.

McDonalds said that the dishes included food ingredients supplied by Husi operations in Hebei province and Guangzhou - including chicken and beef from Hebei, and several vegetable and fruit items from Guangzhou.

Mainland authorities are investigating reports that rotten meat had been reprocessed and repackaged with new expiry dates at Husi’s Shanghai plant.

The tainted meat may have been sold to many other international chains such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

Any Husi food that has already made it to Hong Kong will be stored in warehouses for the moment, Hong Kong’s government announced on Thursday.

Dr Lee Siu-yuen, the department’s assistant director, said McDonald's Hong Kong had imported cooked chicken legs from Husi’s Shanghai plant.

All of the chicken was sold to customers and no Husi stock remained in the chain’s Hong Kong restaurants, Lee confirmed.

From July last year until December, McDonald's Hong Kong also imported 10 “batches” of frozen pork from the troubled Shanghai plant.

McDonald's Hong Kong had previously denied having imported any food products from the Shanghai plant. On Thursday the fastfood chain apologised to its customers for the "confusion", according to Cable TV.

Lee said the Centre for Food Safety had inspected over 1,000 samples of foods from fastfood chains including KFC, Starbucks, Yoshinoya, Burger King and Pizza Hut in the past two days. Hygiene conditions at all outlets were deemed satisfactory, she said.

On Tuesday the centre had confirmed that products from a Husi processing plant in Hebei province had been imported into Hong Kong this year. But the centre had said it had no records of any products from the Shanghai plant arriving in Hong Kong this year.

Five Husi executives were questioned by Shanghai police on Tuesday, after investigators seized 160 tonnes of raw meat as well as 1,107 tonnes of Husi Food products.

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

McDonald's Japan admitted that the company had sourced about a fifth of its “Chicken McNuggets” from the Shanghai plant and that it had halted sales of the product on Monday.

On Wednesday, OSI Group chief executive Sheldon Lavin apologised to "all of our customers in China". Lavin said the incident was "terribly wrong", adding that the company's own team of "global experts" had been sent to China to assist with the mainland's investigation.