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Five held as probe into China's food scandal expands

Publication Date : 24-07-2014


Five people have been detained in connection with a Shanghai food supplier accused of selling expired meat to restaurant chains.

Shanghai Husi Food, a subsidiary of US-based OSI Group, allegedly supplied expired meat to international fast-food titans including KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald's and coffee chain Starbucks.

Shanghai police said on Wednesday that they had detained five people, including the head of the company and its quality manager.

About 100 metric tonnes of food products from nine companies found to have used the supplier's products have been sealed. Other companies involved include 7-Eleven, Burger King and Dicos.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said it has taken 124 samples from the sealed products that it will test.

"The results will be released to the public when they come out," said Gu Zhenhua, deputy head of the Shanghai FDA.

Supervision departments were inspecting fast food chain headquarters, central kitchens, distribution centers and stores, the Shanghai FDA said on Wednesday.

In addition to Shanghai Husi Food, law enforcement officials had inspected 581 food producing and processing companies in the city.

Since the story broke, food safety authorities across the country have rushed to carry out inspections and seal suspicious meat products.

On Tuesday, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson said he feels "a bit deceived" by the audit it received for Shanghai Husi Food, according to a Reuters report.

In a written reply to China Daily, McDonald's China said it has "stringent" standards and procedures in its suppliers' management, including "systematic and third party audits".

Yum! Brands, which owns KFC and Pizza Hut, said its Chinese outlets have stopped buying from OSI's China outlets, and will review its supervision system of suppliers.

Zhang Yongjian, director of the Research Centre for Development and Regulation of the Food and Drug Industry, said lack of supervising and monitoring capacity, resources and professionals has resulted in the reoccurrence of food safety scandals in the supply chains.

Wang Xu, an assistant professor of the law school at Renmin University of China, said that Shanghai Husi Food should shoulder prime responsibility if the accusations are found to be true, though its clients should also be responsible for examining the quality of the products.

Wang Qingyun and Wang Zhuoqiong in Beijing contributed to this story.


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