Chinese authorities have arrested six employees of a Shanghai food supplier to McDonald’s and other major restaurant chains in China after revelations of meat safety violations, the supplier said Friday.
The Shanghai Husi plant, owned by a subsidiary of Aurora-based OSI Group, suspended operations last month after TV reports showed workers mixing meat beyond its expiration date and picking up meat from a factory floor. Production at the plant has not resumed, an OSI spokeswoman said Friday.
The six Shanghai Husi employees were arrested on “suspicion of producing and selling fake or substandard products,” according to the web site of the Shanghai Municipal People's Procuratorate.
“The OSI Group will continue to cooperate fully and in good faith with the authorities,” the company said in a statement Friday. “We support the government’s consistent application of the country’s food quality and safety laws.”
The food safety issue has been a blow to both OSI Group and Oak Brook-based McDonald’s, which saw its Asia sales fall sharply in July. OSI Group, through its subsidiaries, supplies products to McDonald’s, Yum Brands Inc.'s KFC and other major restaurant chains in China.
OSI Group established its first food processing plant in China in 1991, and began supplying products to McDonald’s the following year. The Shanghai plant opened in 1996 and has more than 500 employees according to the OSI China website.
OSI Group has 11 food processing facilities in China, according to an OSI spokeswoman.
McDonald’s suspended supplies to its restaurants from OSI China facilities several weeks ago, a spokeswoman said. Some 500 of 2000 McDonald’s restaurants in China were initially affected, but product shortages have since spread across the country, she said.
“As we transitioned to other suppliers, most restaurants were affected in some way, they may not have offered regular full menu,” said Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, a McDonald’s spokeswoman. “It varied by location."
McDonald’s has not resumed use of OSI Group in China, Barker Sa Shekhem said.