McDonald's China

Pic: AP.

The food safety scandals in China just keep on coming. This time it has emerged that beef and chicken more than one year past its expiry date may have been served to customers by McDonald’s and KFC.

Both fast food chains have stopped using meat from the Shanghai supplier – Shanghai Husi Food Co.- and an investigation is under way. Quartz reports that, “the supplier is owned by a US-based meat processing firm OSI Group”.

The official Xinhua News Agency said authorities suspended Husi’s operations and ordered its products recalled while they investigate the report.

McDonald’s Corp. and Yum Brands Inc., which owns KFC and Pizza Hut, said through their Weibo accounts that they immediately stopped using Husi’s products and would conduct their own investigations.

The original undercover Dragon Television report exposed the repackaging of expired meat that smelled bad, but “eating it wouldn’t kill you”.

The controversy is the latest in a long line of food scandals to hit China. Tainted milk and baby formula scandals have been to the forefront in recent years, while the Chinese media regularly run damning stories on major food chains and consumer brands.

Yum Brands in particular has been hit hard in recent years as it struggles to recover from the avian food outbreak and earlier chicken scandals.

Fears surrounding contaminated food and water are a very real issue in China. Last year 14,000 dead pigs were found floating in rivers near Shanghai, with no official explanation as to what had killed them. More recently, a scientific study found that the country’s rivers and lakes contain worrying amounts of antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals.

Additional reporting from Associated Press