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Mixing old meat with new ‘routine’ at Chinese plant

Publication Date : 24-07-2014


In the wake of a food scandal involving a Chinese food company that used chicken meat past its expiration dates for McDonald’s Co.’s Chicken McNuggets and other products, FamilyMart Co. has announced that it has stopped selling its Garlic Nuggets and Popcorn Chicken made by the same company.

Meanwhile, China’s agency in charge of food safety has launched a full-scale investigation into the scandal.

Mixing old meat, altering expiration dates, and measures to escape food safety checkups—Chinese media uncovered dirty tricks routinely carried out by Shanghai Husi Food Co. The impact of the latest scandal has been spreading, as some fast-food chains doing business with the firm suspended selling some products in China.

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) instructed the Shanghai city government to suspend operations of Shanghai Husi Food and confiscate raw materials and products at the firm. Meanwhile, the CFDA also ordered it to conduct a thorough investigation into the case and have the city’s judicial authority pursue the firm’s criminal responsibility over illegal acts.

Shanghai Husi Food is owned by US major food provider OSI Group, and there are five factories related to the group in such provinces as Hebei, Shandong and Guangdong along with Shanghai. In China, Shanghai Husi Food supplies products to such companies as McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut. According to an official at the Shanghai city government, nine companies used products made by Shanghai Husi Food. Respective companies stopped selling relevant products on Monday or Tuesday.

The irregularities at Shanghai Husi Food came to light after a Shanghai-based satellite TV station that sneaked into the company made a report on them on Sunday.

According to the TV station, the food company’s workers, wearing white clothes, masks and gloves, cooked and processed 18 tons of chicken meat in one day with machines to make nuggets.

The TV station’s reporter found many bags containing chicken meat that showed they had passed a quality preservation period by nearly half a month. However, other workers said, “It doesn’t matter; bring them [to the processing machines].”

China’s quality preservation period is equivalent to expiration dates in Japan. According to the report by the TV station, one of workers said, “You won’t die even if you eat a product that passed the [quality preservation] period.”


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