BEIJING Aug 3 Police in China have detained six
executives of a meat supply company at the centre of the latest
food safety scare to hit the country, state media reported on
Shanghai's chief of police and deputy mayor Bai Shaokang
told local radio that the executives of Shanghai Husi Food, a
unit of U.S.-based OSI Group LLC, had been taken into custody,
Xinhua news agency said.
The firm had supplied meat to foreign fast food chains
McDonald's and KFC-parent Yum Brands Inc, among
The scandal, which also dragged in coffee chain Starbucks
Corp. O>, was triggered by a local television report
showing staff at Shanghai Husi using long-expired meat. The
report also alleged the firm forged production dates.
Food safety has been a huge concern for Chinese consumers
after dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical
melamine sickened many thousands and led to the deaths of six
infants in 2008.
Regulators closed the Shanghai Husi plant on July 20. Police
have detained five people, including Shanghai Husi's head and
quality manager. It was not clear from the Xinhua report if Bai
was referring to the same executives.
"If any wrongdoing was unearthed, we would deal with it
strictly according to law," Bai was quoted as saying.
Yum Brands Inc is the biggest Western restaurant operator in
China with 6,400 restaurants. It warned last week that the scare
caused "significant, negative" damage to sales at KFC and Pizza
Hut restaurants in the period from July 20 through July
After the scandal broke, Yum quickly cut all ties with OSI,
which was not a significant supplier to the chain.
McDonald's Corp, which has deep ties to OSI and was more
dependent on the supplier, ended its relationship with OSI
China. As a result, many of its 2,000 restaurants in the country
have suffered meat shortages.
McDonald's Holdings Co Ltd, the Japanese unit of the world's
biggest restaurant chain, withdrew its earnings guidance for the
year after the scandal forced it to switch to alternative
(Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu and Ran Li in Beijing; Editing
by Lynne O'Donnell)