Burger King Worldwide Inc. (BKW), reacting to a health scare in China, cut ties with OSI Group LLC in the country after the supplier’s Shanghai operation was accused of changing the expiration dates on meat.
Burger King’s Chinese division investigated the matter and decided it was safer to stop sourcing any products from OSI’s facilities throughout the country, Alix Salyers, a spokeswoman for the Miami-based company, said in an e-mail.
“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,” Salyers said. “We apologize to all of our guests and thank you for your understanding.”
Burger King’s move is the latest fallout from a scandal that erupted last week after a local TV station showed OSI workers repackaging chicken and beef past their sell-by dates. The report spawned a government investigation and led OSI, known locally as Husi, to recall products from the plant.
Yum! Brands (YUM) Inc., the owner of Pizza Hut and KFC, also severed its relationship with OSI over the incident. McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), meanwhile, stuck by the meat supplier, which has been its partner since the 1950s. McDonald’s said last week it will continue using the Husi division’s other operations in the country after the Shanghai plant was shut down. For now, though it has had to pull beef, pork and chicken items from its Chinese restaurants.
OSI’s Chinese operations don’t supply any products to Burger Kings outside of the country, Salyers said. While other OSI operations supply Burger Kings in two countries outside China, the vendor accounts for less than 0.1 percent of its entire system, she said.
In China, where Burger King has about 190 locations, Husi had provided some protein items and vegetables, she said.
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