McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
Fast food restaurant is forced to remove chicken products after expired meat was found to be re-processed and served up as new
Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith is a freelance reporter. She was nominated for business journalist of the year at the Press Gazette British Journalism Awards 2012 and her name is so long that she has a double-decker byline in print.
Friday 25 July 2014
McDonald’s has removed its chicken nuggets and chicken burgers from menus in Hong Kong, after a Chinese supplier was found to be taking poultry that had gone off, re-processing the meat, and serving it up for consumption.
The move comes after the Shanghai Husi Food company, which supplies chicken and pork to McDonald’s, was exposed in a Chinese TV report last week. Staff from the food company were showed using long-expired meat, made worse by scenes of workers picking food up from the floor to be added into the mix.
China has suspended the operations of Shanghai Husi, which is owned by the Illinois-based OSI Group, following the report. Five employees have been arrested in connection with the allegations while an on-going investigation takes place.
As a result, McDonald’s has stopped the sale of chicken nuggets, McSpicy chicken filets, chicken and green salads, fresh corn cups and iced lemon tea. The additional items come from the fast-food chain stating that it had also stopped using ingredients from the Guangzhou branch of the Husi company, which included lettuce, corn kernels, lemon slices, green salad, cucumber, onion and tomato.
McDonald’s said: “We reiterate that until today, all the food sold at McDonald’s restaurants conform to the food safety standard under Hong Kong legal regulations.”
Both McDonald’s and the Yum! company, which owns the KFC and Pizza Hut brands and operates in the territory, apologised to Chinese consumers on Monday, while Starbucks admitted that one of its suppliers had bought chicken from the Husi company and subsequently removed one of its own chicken products.
A fifth of the fast-food restaurant’s chicken products in Japan were also sourced through the Shanghai Husi company. These sales were halted on Monday and nearly 500 McDonald’s restaurants in the country have removed chicken nuggets from the menu.
McDonald’s made the ban on Shanghai Husi’s products at its restaurants after Hong Kong’s food safety regulator suspended all imports from the company.
Food authorities said that any products found from the Husi company that had already been imported in to Hong Kong would be marked up and sealed off. Any of these products found are banned from sale until the results of the investigation are announced by authorities.
The scandal marks another blow for McDonald’s and Yum! in a market that is hyper-sensitive to food scandals; both chains were hit by a food scare in China in 2012, while in 2008 a food scandal in China, not connected to the fast-food restaurants, saw dairy products contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine, leaving thousands sick and which killed six children.
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