China officials clear KFC after food scare

BEIJING, March 13 Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:10am EDT

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BEIJING, March 13 (Reuters) - China's Ministry of Health said on Tuesday tests at six outlets of U.S. fast food chain KFC showed chemicals used in the cooking process at its restaurants in the country were not harmful.

KFC, a unit of U.S. fast food group Yum Brands (YUM.N), was targeted by domestic media this month for using magnesium silicate, or talc, in filters used to purify cooking oil. The reports suggested the chemical may be harmful if consumed.

The Ministry of Health said tests showed that using the product to filter cooking oil had no apparent impact on health. Food scares regularly sweep the Chinese media.

KFC, which has more than 1,700 restaurants in China and says it is the largest and fastest-growing fast food chain in the country, came under scrutiny in 2005 after a possibly carcinogenic food dye was found in some of its chicken products.

Yum apologised and said the chemical had been removed from all its food processing.

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