U.S. fast food chains McDonald's and KFC in China faced a new food safety scare Monday while authorities investigate a report that alleges a supplier sold them expired beef and chicken.
McDonald’s Corp. and Yum! Brands Inc., which owns KFC and Pizza Hut outlets, said they have stopped using products supplied by a local meat processor after a Shanghai regulator halted the firm's operations on Sunday over food safety concerns.
Other customers included Burger King, Papa John's Pizza, coffee chain Starbucks and sandwich maker Subway, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported Monday, according to the French news agency AFP.
The move is a potential concern for the two brands, which are both now conducting their own investigation into the matter, since the pair were hit hard by a food safety scandal in China late in 2012.
Apology to customers
Yum, which apologized to Chinese consumers for any inconvenience caused in the latest case, suffered a sharp dive in profits early in 2013 after the safety concerns.
The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) halted the operations of Shanghai Husi Food Co. Ltd, a meat supplier suspected of providing meat that had passed its expiration date to China branches of McDonald's restaurants and Yum's KFC and Pizza Hut outlets, the Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.
The SFDA inspected Shanghai Husi on Sunday evening after a report by a Shanghai television station alleged Shanghai Husi reprocessed and sold old meat and used poor hygiene practices in a local factory.
A statement by the SFDA said police were investigating and threatening "severe punishment" in the future.
China has been rocked by a series of food and product safety problems, due to lax enforcement of regulations and corner-cutting by producers.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.