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Chicago Area Company Involved In International Food Safety Scandal

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 22, 2014 3:35PM

An Aurora-based supplier of beef, pork and chicken to international markets finds itself at the center of a growing international scandal where a subsidiary supplied expired meat to a host of fast food chains including McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King and Starbucks in China and Japan.

A subsidiary of OSI Group, Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, was discovered to have taken stale beef and poultry products, placed new expiration dates on them, and sold them to customers. A Chinese television report further revealed Shanghai Husi employees picking up meat scraps from the floor to add to the mix.

It’s believed Shanghai Husi may have supplied expired meat to 25 percent of the McDonald’s locations in China. YUM! Brands (parent company for KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut), Starbucks and Burger King also acknowledged they bought meat from the company for stores in China and Japan. McDonald’s Corp. and Yum! Brands released statements Monday apologizing to their Chinese customers and announced they were launching investigations into the matter. Burger King and Papa John’s announced they would remove Shanghai Husi from their list of vendors.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration ordered Shanghai Husi’s processing plant shut down and are investigating and have asked OSI to turn over quality control, sales and production records. It’s the latest in a series of food safety scares in China. In 2008, six infants died and thousands of people became sick after consuming dairy products tainted by the industrial chemical melamine. McDonald’s and Yum! Brands outlets in China were affected by a previous food safety scandal in 2012. China is McDonald’s third largest market based on the number of restaurants, and Yum! Brands’ most profitable international market.

OSI is 62nd on Forbes' list of privately held companies. It released a statement apologizing for the scandal.