Japan McDonald´s Opts for Thai Chicken after China Meat Scare

Tokyo-headquartered McDonald’s Holdings Company (Japan), Ltd. announced on July 25 that is prohibiting the sale of all products containing chicken meat from China, and has switched sourcing completely to Thailand.

The fast food chain’s restaurants had already stopped menuing products made with meat imported from Shanghai Husi Food Co., a Chinese supplier that was recently scandalized following televised reports were aired about food safety concerns at its factory. Shanghai Husi had reportedly supplied approximately one-fifth of the Chicken McNuggets sold in Japan.

“We made this decision in view of the growing concern over McDonald’s chicken products made in China,” McDonald’s Japan Chief Executive Sarah Casanova said in a statement.

QSR operators and other foodservice companies in China supplied by Shanghai Husi, a unit of the OSI Group, intensified damage control efforts as reports of the scandal went viral and the scare became one of the hot topics of discussion among “Netizens” on Weibo and its WeChat micro message text and voice messaging communication service in the PRC.

McDonald’s and Yum Brands Inc. (parent of KFC and Pizza Hut), which also sources product from Shanghai Husi, apologized to Chinese customers shortly after the story broke.

Not long after Starbucks in China said some of its stores previously sold products containing chicken originally sourced from Shanghai Husi, according to a Reuters-Bloomberg report.

Addressing the public on its Chinese microblog site, Starbucks said that it had no direct business relationship with Shanghai Husi, but that some of its chicken acquired from another supplier had originated from Husi for its Chicken Apple Sauce Panini products, which had been offered in 13 provinces and cities. It added that all such products had already been yanked from the menu.

The Reuters-Bloomberg report continued: “Burger King and Dicos, China’s third-ranked diner owned by Ting Hsin International, said they would remove Shanghai Husi food products from their outlets… Burger King said in a Weibo statement that it had taken off its shelves all meat products supplied by Shanghai Husi Food and had launched an investigation…Dicos said it pulled all ham products supplied by Shanghai Husi, and would stop serving its ham sandwich product for breakfast. ‘We will continue to carry out a probe into Shanghai Husi Food and its related firms, to understand whether or not it followed national regulations,’ Dicos said in a statement…“Pizza chain Papa John’s International Inc. said on its Weibo blog that it had taken down all meat products supplied by Shanghai Husi and cut ties with the supplier.”