OSI Group blasts outcome of Chinese food-safety case

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OSI Group blasted a court ruling Monday against a subsidiary in a food-safety case in China that affected McDonald’s and other fast-food chains. | AP file photo

The Aurora-based food processor on Monday blasted a court verdict in a food-safety case in China against a subsidiary and 10 employees.

The subsidiary, Shanghai and Hebei Husi Foods Ltd., was fined nearly $365,000 and 10 employees were sentenced to prison over allegations it reprocessing expired beef and chicken and delivered it to fast-food chains in China, Reuters reported.

The expired meats were allegedly sold to Yum Brands, which owns the KFC and Pizza Hut chains, and Burger King. McDonald’s Corp.’s sales in the region took a hit, too, but OSI Group says the hamburger giant didn’t receive any of the disputed meat products.

OSI Group blamed “sensationalized media reports” for the outcome, which it called “an unjust verdict.”

“We have made every effort to follow firm instructions to silently cooperate on the advice it would lead to a fair conclusion,” OSI Group said.

“However, we can no longer accept injustices against our people and our reputation. Sensationalized media reports from Dragon TV led to a raid on the Shanghai Husi plant in July 2014. 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.”

In July 2014, OSI Group admitted to unspecified problems at the plant in China and offered an apology to its customers there.

Oak Brook-based McDonald’s said sales in its Asia-Pacific region dropped 14.5 percent in August 2014, the month after the food-safety scandal erupted.

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