Five Suspects Arrested in Connection with Expired Meat Scandal

Jul 23, 2014

By Jean-Paul McDonald,

Chinese authorities detained five people from a unit of OSI Group, a U.S. food processor (with operations in China), in the case involving expired meat sold to fast food giants - including McDonalds’s, KFC and Pizza Hut. OSI Group is headquartered in Illinois, but has locations in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Police in Shanghai said that the five suspects included company officials that are believed to be responsible in the incident, among the group was a quality manager. The names have not been released.

Government officials shut down the OSI plant for allegedly mixing old meat with fresh product, and re-labeling the expired meat products. According to Shanghai authorities following an investigation, other quality problems were also found at the plant, but details were not disclosed. However, the country’s food and drug administration did conduct an investigation at all of OSI’s factories, which includes facilities in at least five provinces throughout China.

On the company’s website, it says that the Shanghai plant opened in 1996 and employs more than 500 workers making pork, beef and chicken products.

The news of the food safety issue has prompted calls for stronger regulation in China, which has been plagued with food scandals including tainted food products.  The media have reported that the out-of-date meat was used to make various meat products, including chicken nuggets and beef patties.

The fast food restaurants who sourced meat products from the OSI plant stopped purchasing its supply from the plant in question once it found out about the allegations and have apologized to customers. Most of the chains that were affected by the meat scandal had locations in China and Japan.

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