(Adds McDonald’s Japan shifting overseas sourcing of chicken products to Thailand from China)
HONG KONG, July 25 (Reuters) - McDonald’s Corp has suspended sales of chicken nuggets and other items in Hong Kong after it said it imported products from Shanghai Husi Food, the U.S.-owned Chinese company at the centre of a food safety scare in China.
McDonald’s said it imported certain products from Shanghai Husi between July last year and June this year, although no food items from the Shanghai supplier remained in stock.
In Japan, McDonald’s Holdings Co (Japan) said on Friday it would halt all imports of chicken products from China and shift that business to Thailand, boosting purchases from existing suppliers McKey Foods Services (Thailand) Ltd, a unit of Keystone Foods, and Cargill Thailand.
Last year, Thailand supplied 62 percent of McDonald’s Japan’s chicken product imports, with China supplying the remainder.
McDonald’s Japan said earlier this week that it sourced about a fifth of its Chicken McNuggets from Shanghai Husi and had halted sales of the product on Monday.
The food scandal broke after a TV report on Sunday showed staff at Shanghai Husi Food using long expired meat and picking up food from the floor to add back to the mix.
The fast-food company said in Hong Kong it had also stopped selling its McSpicy chicken filets, chicken and green salads, fresh corn cups and iced lemon tea. McDonald’s said it had stopped using the following ingredients from another branch, Guangzhou Husi: lettuce, corn kernels, lemon slices, green salad, cucumber, onion and tomato.
“We reiterate that until today, all the food sold at McDonald’s restaurants conform to the food safety standard under Hong Kong legal regulations,” McDonald’s said.
The announcement came after Hong Kong said it had suspended all imports from Shanghai Husi Food, which is owned by Illinois-based OSI Group.
Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety said in a statement late on Thursday that any food products from Husi already imported into the city would be marked, sealed and banned from sale, pending the results of investigations by Chinese authorities.
China is McDonald’s third-biggest market as measured by the number of restaurants.
The latest food safety scare in China has also ensnared KFC parent Yum Brands Inc, which has required all its KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants to seal up and stop using all meat materials supplied by the Husi factory.
There have been no reports of any consumers falling sick in the latest food scare.
Food safety is one of the top issues for Chinese consumers after a scandal in 2008 where dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of six infants and made many thousands sick. (Reporting by Anne Marie Roantree and Donny Kwok in HONG KONG and Ritsuko Shimizu in TOKYO; Editing by Dean Yates and Ian Geoghegan)