McDonald's brings back Chicken McNuggets after rotten meat scare

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 August, 2014, 2:45am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 August, 2014, 2:58am

McDonald's Chicken McNuggets go back on the menu in Hong Kong today, from a new supplier in Thailand, nearly a month after they were pulled following a safety scare over rotten meat.

McDonald's was one of a number of companies that used meat from Shanghai Husi Food, a unit of US-based OSI Group, which reprocessed and repackaged rotten meat for sale.

After the scandal, McDonald's bosses launched a search for safe ingredients from a global network of suppliers. Cargill Thailand, whose parent group is based in the US, picked up the McNuggets contract.

For now McSpicy chicken filet burgers, salads, lemon tea and corn cups remain unavailable.

"[Like] our customers, McDonald's is highly concerned about food safety," McDonald's Hong Kong said. "We will stand firmly by food safety and stringently monitor our suppliers and the ingredients, and will discontinue the use of any ingredient found with problems and make public announcements in a timely manner."

An official probe is under way to determine whether McDonald's knowingly sold potentially tainted food to the Hong Kong public over a four-day period last month before sales were halted.

McDonald's initially denied there were problems with food safety, and only made a public admission three days later.

Cargill is one of two main suppliers to McDonald's Japan. But it has had problems in the past. In October 2007, the firm recalled 850,000 frozen beef patties produced for US supermarkets after they were suspected to be contaminated by E coli bacteria.

The scandal at the Husi Shanghai factory badly dented consumer confidence in McDonald's. Sales at the fast-food giant's restaurants in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa fell 7.2 per cent last month.

The company, in its monthly sales report, said the steep decline was caused by the impact of food-quality and safety issues at a food supplier in China. But the report did not name that problematic supplier.