Fast-food chain Burger King and Dicos, China's third-ranked fast food chain owned by Ting Hsin International, said they would remove Shanghai Husi food products from their outlets. Pizza chain Papa John's International said on its Weibo blog that it had taken down all meat products supplied by Shanghai Husi and cut ties with the supplier.
Food safety concerns
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. Other food scandals have hit the meat and dairy industries in recent years, and many Chinese look to foreign brands as offering higher safety standards.
China is McDonald's third-biggest market by number of restaurants and Yum's top market by revenue. McDonald's is due to report quarterly earnings later on Tuesday.
The scare has stirred local consumers and become one of the most discussed topics online among the country's influential 'netizens', with some users spreading long lists of firms thought to be tarnished.
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The incident highlights the difficulty in ensuring quality and safety along the supply chain in China. Wal-Mart Stores came under the spotlight early this year after a supplier's donkey meat product was found to contain fox meat. It also came under fire for selling expired duck meat in 2011.
Starbucks said on its Chinese microblog site that it had no direct business relationship with Shanghai Husi, but that some of its chicken acquired from another supplier had originally come from Husi for its "Chicken Apple Sauce Panini" products. This had been sold in 13 different provinces and major cities. The company added that all the products had already been removed from its shelves.
Burger King said in a Weibo statement posted late on Monday that it had taken off its shelves all meat products supplied by Shanghai Husi Food and had launched an investigation.
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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.
Swedish furniture firm IKEA, which has in-store food outlets, said on Weibo that Shanghai Husi had previously been a supplier, but had not provided the firm with products since September last year. Domino's Pizza and Doctor's Associates Inc's Subway brand, which were named in online reports as being supplied meat from Shanghai Husi, said their outlets in China did not use meat products from the firm.
Yoshinoya-parent Hop Hing Group Holdings, Japanese convenience store FamilyMart and Chinese chain Wallace urged diners not to worry, and said they did not currently use any products from Shanghai Husi.