Monday, July 28, 2014

Fallout continues as Chinese recall meat

The fallout continues from an undercover television reporter’s exposé of cheating at an American-owned meat-processing plant in China.

Shanghai Husi, owned by OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois, has now announced that it is recalling all of its products from the marketplace.

The television reporter, who worked undercover in the plant for two months, recorded meat that was 12 days old and some of it mouldy being processed into products sold to fast-food chains including McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

Some of the facility’s products were exported, including to Australia and North America.

“To help rebuild the trust of our customers and consumers, as well as to cooperate with the official investigatory process, we are compelled to withdraw all products manufactured by Shanghai Husi from the marketplace,” OSI Group said in a prepared statement released over the weekend.

“We are also conducting a thorough internal investigation into any possible failures on the part of current and former senior management. Should any misconduct be uncovered, we will take swift and decisive action against those responsible, including all relevant disciplinary and/or legal measures.

“In addition, a new management team has been brought in to China to ensure that operations run effectively,” the company statement says.

Shanghai Husi is believed to have produced 5,108 crates of meat products, including McNuggets, pork patties and beef steaks, using out-of-date or mouldy materials, according to the bureau and Shanghai's food and drug administration, which are jointly investigating the case.

About 100 tonnes of products are under detention.

Regulators in Shanghai found that Shanghai Husi forged production dates on some of its products and sold them after their expiry, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

Shanghai police shut down the Shanghai Husi factory and detained five company employees following the television report, which showed workers using expired meat and meat that had fallen to the floor to make products including chicken nuggets.

Last week OSI Group owner Sheldon Lavin issued a public apology, saying, “I am appalled that something so completely unacceptable has happened in a company that I own. I will not try and defend it or explain it. It was just terribly wrong."