KFC exits Fiji after Colonel's secret recipe is quarantined

Colonel Sanders appears to have met his match in Fiji, with KFC closing all three of its outlets on the Pacific island after the food-safety agency slapped the restaurant chain's top-secret herbs and spices blend in quarantine.

The country's agriculture secretary, Colonel Mason Smith, told local media that the breadcrumbs – which contain the much-touted "secret recipe" – and a milk-and-egg mix had been held up for inspection to ensure the products were disease-free, and insisted the country had not banned any products.

But KFC said it had been unable to import the key ingredients since October last year. "The missing ingredients led to a decline in product quality [which], coupled with rising food costs, contributed to decreasing sales," the Fiji Times quoted the company as saying.

Fijian officials allege that the fuss over the ingredients is a ruse to cover up the fact that the stores were suffering financially.

"KFC are a global fast-food chain with a very slick public-relations machine but at a local level I think their message is becoming a little confused," Elvis Silvestrini, the head of Fiji's Biosecurity Authority, told Radio New Zealand International. "The local general manager stated himself, he has attributed the decision to suspend Fiji operations because of rising costs and deteriorating sales."

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