News / Asia

McDonald's Meat Supplier Overhauls China Operations

McDonald's Hong Kong restaurants have taken chicken nuggets and chicken filet burgers off the menu following accusations of selling expired meat. A menu as of July 25, 2014.
McDonald's Hong Kong restaurants have taken chicken nuggets and chicken filet burgers off the menu following accusations of selling expired meat. A menu as of July 25, 2014.
Reuters

A leading U.S. meat supplier said a Chinese unit at the center of a food safety scandal had issues that were “absolutely inconsistent” with the group's high standards.

“This is my company and events like these have a personal toll. ... They simply don't represent the values I stand for or those of my company,” Sheldon Lavin, the millionaire chairman, CEO and owner of Illinois-based OSI Group LLC, said at a news conference Monday in Shanghai.

OSI said it was suspending operations at Shanghai Husi Food and would review all its China plants in an effort to limit further damage after losing two major customers.

KFC and Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands Inc. last week severed its ties with OSI, while the Japan and Hong Kong units of McDonald's Corp. said they were ending their relationship with the U.S. meat processor's Chinese unit following allegations it mixed expired meat with fresh produce.

Customers eat at a McDonald's restaurant in Hong Kong on July 25, 2014.Customers eat at a McDonald's restaurant in Hong Kong on July 25, 2014.
x
Customers eat at a McDonald's restaurant in Hong Kong on July 25, 2014.
Customers eat at a McDonald's restaurant in Hong Kong on July 25, 2014.

David McDonald, OSI's president and chief operating officer, said the group was making senior management changes in China and will set up a quality control center in Shanghai to better supervise its business. It also will bring in global experts to survey the China operations and improve auditing, including constant visual surveillance and extensive employee interviews.

In addition, it plans to spend 10 million yuan ($1.62 million) on a food safety education program in Shanghai.

McDonald's headquarters to take control

OSI, which ranks among the top few dozen U.S. private companies with annual revenue of close to $6 billion, said its China operations had a certain amount of autonomy. The group wanted a decentralized business model that allowed decisions to be made locally, although global standards were not meant to be broken. McDonald's said the China operations would come under the direct control of headquarters.

Shanghai Husi Food was accused earlier this month by a TV documentary of mixing expired meat with fresh product and forging production dates. Regulators in Shanghai said Husi had forged the dates on smoked beef patties and then sold them after they expired. Police have detained five people as part of their investigation. There have been no reports of any consumers falling sick.

“To date, we've found issues that are absolutely inconsistent with our internal requirements for the highest standards, processes and policies,” McDonald told a packed news conference at a Shanghai hotel, adding that all nine OSI food processing plants in China would be reviewed.

China is McDonald's third biggest market by outlets and Yum's largest, representing a big growth opportunity for foreign fast-food chains. But a series of damaging food safety scandals in recent years risks denting those prospects as many Chinese look to foreign restaurants for better quality.

Meat dishes off menu

McDonald's, which has more than 2,000 outlets in mainland China, took more meat dishes off its menus Monday as it sought to fill the supply gap after OSI withdrew all Shanghai Husi products from the market at the weekend.

At least three McDonald's outlets in Shanghai and Beijing, visited by Reuters reporters on Monday, had stopped selling all or most of their meat products. Outlets in cities such as Tianjin and Wuhan were also affected, according to microblog postings.

A spokeswoman at McDonald's in China said its beef, chicken and pork products were affected at outlets across the country, though the level of impact varied.

In an emailed statement, McDonald's said it had withdrawn all products from the Husi group in China since Friday. “As a result, we are now only offering a limited menu in our restaurants around the country.”

“We are leveraging our network of suppliers to resume our full menu offerings. Some restaurants will resume offering full menu in early August and some may take a little longer. We apologize to our customers for causing them such concern and inconvenience,” it added.

'Won't accept their apologies'

“I wanted to order chicken products today,” said Tan Qiang, 23, at one McDonald's outlet in central Shanghai. “But they only had one type of combo and nothing else. I was disappointed not being able to eat what I want.”

Outside another nearby McDonald's, an 18-year-old student who only gave her surname as Li, said: “For big companies like McDonald's, they should feel sorry for what they did to customers. I won't accept their apologies.”

Food safety is a big issue for Chinese consumers after dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of six infants in 2008 and left many thousands sick.    

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
July 28, 2014 11:08 PM
Speaking as a lawyer, the problem in China is not there are no rules and regulations. But the people who supposedly are hired to enforce the rules and regulations do not do a good job. There are many loopholes, including corruption and cultural attitude which defeats the purported enforcement of these rules and regulations.

by: timekeeper from: Florida
July 28, 2014 11:17 AM
To me the real issue is why we are buying meet from china instead of the US. do we not have meat processing is this country anymore. McDonalds could not open their own processing center in this country. you can set up all the standards in the world but it is hard to change culture. Many foreign cultures do not understand health proceedure's. China has had a bad track record so far on food including killing many pets with bad dog food.

by: Lesley from: Ontario, Canada
July 28, 2014 11:02 AM
It says in the article there have been no reports of people getting sick! Well I ate there in April of this year and noticed my double cheese burger tasted funny - but chalked it up to a different way of preparing it. Within hours I had severe food poising which lasted for 3 days! I could barely stomach any food for the rest of my trip. It was horrible - I was on a guided tour and missed 3 days of activities as I was in my room - I was SOOO sick! and I KNOW it was from that McDonald's burger in Shanghai!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs