Burger King cuts ties to OSI China

by Erica Shaffer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Burger King Worldwide, Inc. stopped sourcing meat from HUSI Food Co. processing plants in Shanghai, China after the company was implicated in a food-safety scandal.

"Last week, Burger King China took swift action and suspended the sale of any products from the Husi factories in Shanghai that had supplied our restaurants,” the company said in a statement to MeatPoultry.com. “Food quality and safety are the highest priority at all Burger King restaurants,” the company statement said.

Burger King reacts to food safety scandal at Husi Shanghai meat plant.

OSI Group declined to comment.
 
OSI Group counts among its customers some of the largest foodservice chains in the world, including McDonald’s Corp. and Yum! Brands International. Yum! also stopped using OSI as a supplier. McDonald’s has decided to remain with the company. But Burger King decided it would be safer to stop using products from the Shanghai plant.

“We launched a full investigation into this matter and, as a precaution, have decided that we will no longer source any products from Husi or any of its related entities throughout China,” the company said in its statement. “This decision may impact the availability of some of our products in China on a temporary basis, but we are working to return supplies to normal levels as soon as possible.

“We apologize to all of our guests and thank you for your understanding. The Husi locations in China do not provide products to any Burger King restaurants outside of China,” the company added.

Yum! Brands, owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, severed its relationship with OSI China.

A local television report showed workers picking up meat from the plant floor and mixing fresh meat with expired meat at a processing plant run by HUSI Food. The plant is a local subsidiary of Aurora, Ill.-based OSI Group LLC. Officials at OSI responded to the problem by closing the plant and removing all products manufactured by Shanghai HUSI from the marketplace.

In a statement posted to the OSI Group website, David McDonald, president and COO, said: “Our internal investigation is still ongoing. We are working closely with the Shanghai CFDA to ensure that we meet their expectation. To date our investigations have found issues that are absolutely inconsistent with our internal requirements for highest standards, process and policies.”

OSI also implemented a management and structural shake-up for its operations in China. McDonald said its China operations will become part of the OSI International umbrella, directly embedded into the corporate organization rather than operating as a separate, decentralized entity. China operations were renamed OSI International China.

McDonald emphasized its commitment to doing business in China, where OSI Group has invested more than $500 million over the past five years. OSI has a history of business operations in China. The company opened its first plant in Beijing in 1992. Today, OSI and its partners currently operate 10 businesses in China, including several vertically integrated poultry businesses.

McDonald's has opted to stick with OSI.

Located in in Xihua County, Henan Province, the DaOSI slaughter complex is a joint venture between OSI and Doyoo Group, a leading Chinese poultry company. OSI Henan Foods, a further-processing facility for value-added meats, also is located Xihua County, Henan Province.

The DaOSI complex is OSI’s largest poultry operation globally, spanning more than 36,500 square meters, or nearly 400,000 square feet, according to the company.

OSI's other China poultry operations include OSI Group (Weihai) Poultry Development Co. in Shandong Province and SunOSI Poultry Development Co. in Fujian Province. OSI Weihei Foods, OSI’s further processing plant in Shandong Province, produces specialty products and covers approximately 7,500 square meters, or 80,000 square feet. Fujian SunOSI is a joint venture with Fujian Sunner Development, a leading publicly-traded Chinese poultry company.

“Over the last 105 years we’ve accumulated a lot of experience, expertise and technology in food processing,” McDonald said in his statement. “We will set up an OSI Asia Quality Control Center — located in Shanghai. The center, staffed by a team of international and local teams, will provide quality assurance for all OSI sites across the country. It can also provide support to other Chinese food companies.

“To promote the awareness for food safety among the Chinese public, we will also create a three- year, OSI Food Safety Education Campaign in China with a 10 Million RMB investment. More details will be shared in the near future.

“Food safety is never compromised at OSI,” McDonald concluded. “It is the cornerstone of our business and for our customers. We understand that we still have a lot of work to do to reclaim the respect and trust of our customers, the government, and consumers. We are committed to doing this work.”

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