China's KFC, Pizza Hut, & McDonalds Accidentally Bought Expired Meat, Shudder
Are you done with lunch yet? Great, because this nugget of news might spoil your appetite. A Shanghai television station reported Monday that KFC, McDonald's, and Pizza Hut in China may have bought expired beef and chicken. The Shanghai-based meat company, Husi Food Co., has been temporarily shut down by officials and is currently under investigation.
McDonald's Corp. and Yum Brands Inc. — that Louisville, Kentucky-headquartered company that owns KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut — told its restaurants to immediately stop serving meat supplied through Husi Food Co., and are conducting separate investigations into the matter. (None of the affected meat reached the U.S.) The company allegedly repackaged expired meats, slapping new expiration dates on beef and chicken products. The report on China's Dragon TV also showed workers picking up meat from the factory floor.
The Chinese media reported that Burger King, Starbucks, Papa John's, and IKEA are also Husi customers.
It is not a good look for Yum, who took a hit last year when it was alleged that KFC was selling chicken chock-full of excessive antibiotics. Still, as the largest restaurant chain in China, KFC and Yum were seeing a comeback. Will this be the final straw that will topple the fast-food behemoth?
Probably not. According to its website, Yum is the leading retail developer in China. It boasts 6,300 restaurants across the nation, and expects to open 700 more this year. KFC, with its juicy, antibiotic-pumped expired chicken, is China's leading foreign brand, boasting over 4,600 restaurants across the country. And as for McDonald's, it is popular enough in China to offer its own wedding services.
USA Today reported that despite this ongoing trend of health-safety concerns among fast food joints in China, some people don't seem overly concerned.
"The incident won't change me eating here," McD's diner Liu Kun told USA Today . "There have been negative reports all the time, McDonald and KFC are the leaders in the industry."
Liu does have a point. There have been several incidents of undercover reports of fast food restaurant conditions, the kind that you don't see with smaller retailers. Anytime there is a problem with the brand, it is sure to gain attention. Still, McDonald's and Yum foods have a responsibility as industry leaders to make sure that they are supplying safe food to their customers.
Forbes contributor Yue Wang noted in her report that the slow uptake on food safety issues in the country could be due to an outdated supply chain, citing the death of infants after consuming bad milk powder.
Hope you weren't still hungry.