SHANGHAI – The Shanghai Jiading People’s Court fined OSI Group LLC 2.4 million yuan ($365,000) and sentenced 10 individuals to prison for producing and selling inferior food products. But OSI claimed the company has been a target of a “hurtful smear campaign,” and is considering an appeal.
The court said in a statement on its microblog that the Shanghai and Hebei units of OSI received fines while a general manager was sentenced to three years in prison. The general manager, who is Australian, faces deportation and a 100,000 yuan ($15,136) fine. Nine other individuals received sentences ranging from 19 months to 32 months.
In a statement, Aurora, Illinois-based OSI said the court reached an unjust verdict after “seventeen months of legal proceedings, detainment of Husi employees for as long as seventeen months, a harmful smear campaign driven by state?owned media, as well as the denial of entry of press and senior OSI leaders to all court proceedings…”
In 2014, food-safety authorities in Shanghai temporarily suspended operations at the Shanghai Husi Food Co. Ltd. plant following allegations of food-safety problems. Burger King, Yum! Brands, McDonald’s and other major customers severed business ties with OSI China.
“Sensationalized media reports from Dragon TV led to a raid on the Shanghai Husi plant in July 2014,” OSI said. “Dragon TV made false and incomplete accusations that ignored facts and Chinese law. After an actual investigation was completed, all authorities involved have recognized that this case has never been about food safety.
“The distortion of facts and evidence by Dragon TV and the general media clearly influenced the verdict released today.”
The company added the company “is forced to consider an appeal through all legal channels…” The company also is considering pursuing legal action against Dragon TV.
“OSI has been doing business in China for more than 25 years and maintains the highest standard of food safety in the industry,” the company concluded. “We will continue to do so in our current operations, as well as, seek a reexamination of the facts in the Shanghai and Hebei Husi Foods case.”