OSI owner issues statement about Husi Shanghai; executives detained in China
Employees of a Chinese meat processor accused of using expired meat in its products have been detained by police. According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese police said Wednesday they had detained five people connected to Shanghai Husi Food. Police didn't release their names but identified two of the detained employees as a person responsible for the company and a quality supervisor. The detained employees couldn't be reached for comment.
Hidden camera footage shown earlier this week on Dragon TV in China showed workers at a Shanghai Husi plant using out-of-date chicken and beef to make burgers and chicken patties for its customers, including McDonald’s and KFC. Workers were seen scooping up meat that had fallen onto the plant floor and putting it into the processing equipment, reports the New York Times.
In response, several customers, including McDonald’s, Burger King and Starbucks, have announced that they were no longer using meat supplied from the processor. Yum, parent of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants, on Wednesday said the company had dropped OSI as a supplier in China and the two other markets where it had purchased its products—the U.S. and Australia. Yum said it reserved the right to take legal action against OSI, depending on the outcome of the Chinese government investigation.
The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said that the food-safety violations at the plant were organized by the company.
"We've discovered that the violations of the company were not the act of an individual, but were moreover a plan organized by the company," the deputy assistant of the Shanghai agency was quoted as saying by the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency late Tuesday.
Sheldon Lavin, chairman, CEO and owner of OSI Group, issued the following statement about the incident:
“What happened at Husi Shanghai is completely unacceptable. I will not try and defend it or explain it. It was terribly wrong, and I am appalled that it ever happened in the company that I own.
On behalf of Husi and OSI, I sincerely apologize to all of our customers in China. We will bear the responsibility of these missteps, and will make sure that they never happen again. That is my personal commitment and that of our organization.
For more than 100 years, OSI has provided safe, quality food and is currently operating at the highest standards in 17 countries serving more than 40 countries around the world. So to have this occur at this Shanghai facility violates the tenets of our company and the values we embrace and live.
Upon hearing of the Shanghai issue, I immediately sent our best team of global experts from the OSI Group, and more are on their way, to work with the local team to ensure my promise to you today is met.
We are very proud of our newest state-of-the-art facility in Henan. It reflects our confidence and commitment in China. We are also pleased that local Chinese authorities have inspected all our other facilities and have found no issues.”
Sources: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, OSI Group LLC