China Chicken Scandal Hits Fast Food Chains
A growing number of fast food and cafe chains are becoming embroiled in a scandal linked to a single supplier accused of passing off "toxic meat".
Starbucks, McDonald's and Burger King are among the outlets that have taken action since a video came to light which was said to show staff at Shanghai Husi Food Co using expired meat and picking up meat from the floor to sell on to stores in China.
The supplier, which was shut down after the TV report was shown, is a unit of US-based OSI Group.
McDonald's said meat from the supplier had even been sold to its branches in Japan, where it was used in the firm's McNuggets.
The hamburger chain and KFC's parent firm Yum Brands apologised to Chinese customers while Starbucks said some of its stores previously sold products containing chicken originally sourced from Shanghai Husi.
Burger King and Dicos, China's third-ranked diner owned by Ting Hsin International, said they would remove Shanghai Husi food products from their outlets.
Pizza chain Papa John's International said on its Weibo blog that it had taken down all meat products supplied by Shanghai Husi and cut ties with the supplier.
Food safety is one of the top issues for Chinese consumers after a scandal in 2008 where dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of six infants and made many thousands sick.
Other food scandals have hit the meat and dairy industries in recent years, and many Chinese look to foreign brands as offering higher safety standards.
Starbucks said on its Chinese microblog site that it had no direct business relationship with Shanghai Husi but that some of its chicken acquired from another supplier had originally come from Husi for its "Chicken Apple Sauce Panini" products.
Burger King said in a Weibo statement that it had taken off its shelves all meat products supplied by Shanghai Husi and had launched an investigation.