* Five Shanghai Husi staff detained include head and quality
chief - police
* Food safety violations at Husi were company-led, not
individual acts - watchdog
* Over 1,000 tonnes of suspect meat products sealed from OSI
* More Japanese firms withdraw Husi-supplied products
(Adds visits to OSI plants, local comments)
By Brenda Goh and Paul Carsten
SHANGHAI/LANGFANG, China, July 23 Shanghai
police said on Wednesday they detained five people in an
investigation into a Chinese-based supplier of foreign fast-food
brands including KFC and McDonald's Corp over
allegations the firm supplied out-of-date meat.
The five detained include the head of the company - Shanghai
Husi Food Co Ltd, a unit of U.S.-based OSI Group LLC - and the
firm's quality manager, the police said in an online statement.
It gave no other details.
McDonald's, Yum Brands Inc, the parent company of
KFC and Pizza Hut, and coffee chain Starbucks Corp are
among global brands to have pulled products from their outlets
after it emerged that Shanghai Husi supplied expired meat to
clients in China, as well as Japan, in the latest in a series of
food safety scandals in the country.
Earlier, the official Xinhua news agency cited the Shanghai
food and drug watchdog as saying that food safety violations at
Shanghai Husi were company-led rather than the acts of
individuals. "We discovered that some of the company's illegal
behaviour was not the behaviour of individuals, but rather an
organised arrangement by the company," Xinhua reported Gu
Zhenhua, deputy head of the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug
Administration, as saying.
Illinois-based OSI has said it was "appalled" and was
investigating the matter after a Chinese TV report on Sunday
showed staff at its Shanghai Husi facility using expired meat
and picking up meat from the floor to add to the mix.
An official at OSI in China reached by telephone on
Wednesday declined to comment further.
Huang Denggang, 20, worked as a night cleaner at the Husi
plant, a modern warehouse compound in a Shanghai suburb, for
more than a year, but doesn't plan to return when it re-opens
because of lower-than-expected pay and a medical claim.
He told Reuters on Wednesday that he saw workers pick up raw
meat from the floor and put it back into processing containers.
"I've seen them pick meat pieces off the floor, though I
can't say I know anything about expired meat because I'm not
involved in that part of the factory," he said at a local job
agency where he works during the day. He showed Reuters his Husi
payslip as verification of his employment there.
"The leader didn't say anything when you throw it back. When
the raw meat falls out of a container from inside, you just pick
it up and put it back," he recalled, adding he also saw some
workers not wear gloves while handling raw meat.
"If you wear gloves, maybe it slows you down if you want to
pick up the chicken pieces because they're slippery. But again I
don't work in that part of the factory. But I've seen them doing
that (not wearing gloves)," he said.
Another Husi worker, who gave only the surname Zhang, said
by telephone that he worked on the production line breaking up
chicken into pieces. He said he quit because of the low pay.
"When it (raw meat) drops, they usually don't see it, and
even if they do it was fine to pick it up and put it back," he
said. "There was an attitude of 'it doesn't really matter'."
The former workers' comments contrasted with what one worker
at another of OSI's food processing plants in Langfang in the
northern Chinese province of Hebei told Reuters. He said that
regulations there were very strict, all workers need to wear
special clothes, and spot checks were often held unannounced.
"The inspections are done by everyone: our own company, the
government and also clients like McDonald's. Our rules are very
strict and food safety standards are very high," said the
worker, surnamed Wei, as he took a break at a nearby
supermarket. He added the Hebei factory, which processes meat,
vegetables and flour products according to its website, was
still open for business despite ongoing government inspections.
Xinhua also cited the Shanghai food watchdog's deputy head
Gu as saying that Shanghai Husi's controls systems and records
for suspected products violated Chinese regulations.
In the Dragon TV documentary on Sunday, staff at the
Shanghai Husi facility said they kept two record books related
to food products, one of which was doctored to be shown to
anyone who came to audit the facility. According to the report,
which claimed to show an inspection of the facility by
McDonald's, Shanghai Husi staff were aware a day in advance of
the visit and made sure that only compliant products were being
processed on the day.
Separately, the Shanghai food watchdog said it had sealed
more than 1,000 tonnes of suspected meat products from OSI in
China, and a further 100 tonnes of products from a range of its
In Japan, a spokesman for Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd
said a licensee in Shanghai had been selling two hamburger
products using meat supplied by Shanghai Husi. Both products
were removed from outlets on Monday.
A spokeswoman for FamilyMart Co Ltd said the
Japanese convenience store chain had begun a supply deal with
Shanghai Husi this month, selling a "Garlic Nugget" product at
its around 10,000 stores in Japan. Another product, "Popcorn
Chicken" began test-sales mainly in Tokyo this week. Sales of
both products were halted on Tuesday. The company said there
were no reports of any customers falling sick from the products.
"I am deeply sorry for causing this trouble and worry to all
those involved," FamilyMart President Isamu Nakayama told
reporters in Tokyo. "We do not think there is any problem with
our operating structure but the very fact that this happened
means that I think that additional checks should be put into
place to help reassure consumers."
On Tuesday, McDonald's Holdings Co (Japan) Ltd said
the company had sourced about a fifth of its Chicken McNuggets
from Shanghai Husi and had halted sales of the product on
(Additional reporting by Ran Kim, Shimizu Ritsuko and Olivier
Fabre in TOKYO and Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI; Editing by Ian