SHANGHAI, July 28 The head of U.S. meat supplier
OSI Group, the parent company of a Chinese firm at the centre of
a food safety scandal, will hold a news conference in Shanghai
later on Monday, as McDonald's Corp struck more meat
dishes off its menus in China.
Sheldon Lavin, the millionaire chairman, CEO and owner of
Illinois-based OSI, apologised last week for the scandal at
Shanghai Husi Food which has prompted several fast-food brands
to drop its products from outlets in China, Japan and Hong Kong
and switch suppliers.
OSI said over the weekend it would take all products made by
Shanghai Husi Food off the market as it carries out an internal
investigation and brings in a new management team.
Lavin and OSI executives have scheduled their news
conference for 2.30 p.m. (0630 GMT) at a Shanghai hotel, a
China-based OSI official said.
At least three McDonald's outlets in Shanghai and Beijing,
visited by Reuters reporters on Monday, had stopped selling all
or most of their meat products. Outlets in cities such as
Tianjin and Wuhan were also affected, according to microblog
A spokeswoman at McDonald's in China said its beef, chicken
and pork products were affected at outlets across the country,
though the level of impact varied. In an emailed statement,
McDonald's said it had withdrawn all products from the Husi
group in China since Friday. "As a result, we are now only
offering a limited menu in our restaurants around the country."
"We are leveraging our network of suppliers to resume our
full menu offerings. Some restaurants will resume offering full
menu in early August and some may take a little longer. We
apologize to our customers for causing them such concern and
inconvenience," it added.
Shanghai Husi Food was accused earlier this month by a TV
documentary of mixing expired meat with fresh produce and
forging production dates. Regulators in Shanghai said Husi had
forged the dates on smoked beef patties and then sold them after
they expired. Police have detained five people
as part of their investigation.
"I wanted to order chicken products today," said Tan Qiang,
23, at one McDonald's outlet in central Shanghai. "But they only
had one type of combo and nothing else. I was disappointed not
being able to eat what I want."
Outside another nearby McDonald's, an 18-year-old student
who only gave her surname as Li, said: "For big companies like
McDonald's, they should feel sorry for what they did to
customers. I won't accept their apologies."
The food scandal has dragged in other global food brands
such as KFC and Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands Inc and
coffee chain Starbucks Corp.
Food safety is a big issue for Chinese consumers after dairy
products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to
the deaths of six infants in 2008 and left many thousands sick.
(Reporting by Kazunori Takada and Paul Carsten in BEIJING;
Donny Kwok, James Zhang and Nikki Sun in HONG KONG; Editing by