McDonald’s Japan stops all sales of chicken produced in China

July 25, 2014, 10:22 AM UTC
A customer orders food at a McDonald's restaurant in Tokyo on July 25, 2014. McDonald's Japan said all of its Japanese restaurants had stopped selling products made with chicken from China, in the wake of a scandal that saw expired meat sold to fast food giants. More than 3,000 restaurants across Japan had also halted imports of chicken products from the country, the chain said, adding that it had switched to distributors in Thailand "to address the concerns of our customers". AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

The fallout from the scandal over food safety at a Chinese supplier to McDonald’s and KFC owner Yum Brands Inc spread Friday, as McDonald’s Japan said it would stop selling all chicken items produced in China.

“We made this decision as worries are growing over McDonald’s chicken products made in China due to the reports on Shanghai Husi Food Co.,” Sarah L. Casanova, the head of McDonald’s operations in Japan, said in a news release.

As reported, police have arrested five people including the top management of Shanghai Husi, a subsidiary of Aurora, Il.-based OSI Group, amid allegations that it routinely shipped expired meat to customers such as McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.

OSI chairman and chief executive Sheldon Lavin has apologised to Chinese customers, saying he was “appalled” by what had happened, calling it “completely unacceptable.”

McDonald’s Japan had sourced chicken for its McNuggets and its Fillet-O products from China until today.

The scope of the scandal has dramatically widened this week, as the two biggest names in fast-food have scrambled to distance themselves from Shanghai Husi and its parent. Yum Brands cut its business links with OSI Group in the U.S. and Australia Wednesday, having already done the same in China earlier in the week.

A Yum spokeswoman said Shanghai Husi had not been a major supplier to KFC in China, but said the company anticipated some slight disruptions to its offerings at Pizza Hut.

In a separate development, McDonald’s also found itself in hot water with Russia’s consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Reuters reported. A spokeswoman for the agency said it had filed suit to ban some of McDonald’s burgers, milkshakes and ice cream, citing “inappropriate physical-chemical parameters.”

The suit applied to Royal Cheeseburgers, Filet-o-Fish and Chicken Burgers but not the Big Mac.

Reuters cited McDonald’s as saying in a statement it hadn’t received any complaint from the agency and had no information about the lawsuit. It said its food was produced according to methods approved by Russian authorities.

McDonald’s closed all its restaurants in the Ukrainian region of Crimea after it was annexed by Russia in March. Its high-profile presence on Russian streets–the company runs over 400 restaurants in Russia–makes it an obvious target for any retaliation to increasingly tight U.S. sanctions on Russia due to its role in the Ukraine crisis.

Reuters said the Russian court would likely old a preliminary hearing Aug. 13 and a full one in September.