Tokyo: McDonald's Japan will import chicken from Brazil after withdrawing all poultry products of Chinese origin following the Husi company rotten meat scandal in Shanghai, Japanese media reported on Wednesday.
This is one of the measures the Japanese subsidiary of the American franchise said it would take to "recover the confidence of consumers", after being one of the multinational fast food chains affected by the purchase of meat from Husi, which was closed down by Chinese authorities over accusations that it sold products past their expiry date.
Last Friday, McDonald's Japan said that it would withdraw all chicken products made in China, and that it would replace suppliers in that country with others in Thailand.
The company would also import poultry meat from Brazil "to ensure the supply and availability of all its products", McDonald's Japan president Sarah Casanova said in a press conference. "We will do all that is necessary to guarantee the security of our menu," Casanova told the state channel NHK. Casanova asked for "sincere apologies" to customers in her first appearance before the media as president of McDonald's Japan.
Among other measures, the company will publish information about the origin of all its products on its website and will perform "safety inspections" at the premises of its suppliers in Thailand and China, which still provides ingredients for some products. McDonald's Japan cancelled all its orders from the Shanghai Husi Food Co., which provided 20 percent of the meat used in their "chicken nuggets".
Since the scam came to light last week, the sales of McDonald's Japan have fallen between 15 and 20 percent, a senior company official told the Nikkei newspaper.
In addition to McDonald's, other multinational fast food chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Burger King, Papa Johns, 7-Eleven and the Chinese Dicos were affected by the scandal and have withdrawn Husi meat.
Chinese authorities said the Husi plant had falsified the expiry dates of more than 4,000 boxes of meat, and added that five people have been arrested since the fraud was exposed in a report by Shanghai's Dragon TV.
Among other irregularities, the channel released footage filmed at the Husi factory in Shanghai showing how chicken discarded after routine checks by authorities were repeatedly reprocessed to pass quality controls.
The report, made with a hidden camera and undercover journalists, also showed employees picking up meat from the floor and throwing it into the grinder to make hamburgers.