01/09/2013, 00.00
CHINA
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Poisoned chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken in the eye of the storm

The American fast food giant targeted by authorities and customers: it uses – along with its partner Yum - chicken from farms that use hormones and antibiotics to make them grow faster. Since 2005 wave of food scares in China seems impossible to stop.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Yum Brands, one of the best-known restaurant chains across China linked to U.S. giant Kentucky Fried Chicken has announced that they no longer use the chicken meat that comes from domestic farmers. The product, in fact, is currently under the eye of government for a scandal related to the massive use of antibiotics in animals. And although analysts predict that Yum "will survive" the scandal, the food sector in China remains one of the most dangerous Asia.

The decision was taken after an excessive amount of antibiotics was found in eight batches of raw chicken samples collected from 2010 to 2011 from Shandong Liuhe Group, a manufacturer in China of the famous American fast food chain. The news was reported by the food safety office in Shanghai according to the China Daily. In an email response to the Chinese newspaper, KFC has immediately made it known that it is "paying attention" to the rules for the purchase of raw materials and food safety and hygiene, adding that itl immediately stopped the supply contract with the Liuhe Group.

The press release from the Shanghai food safety comes shortly after a report carried on a Chinese television channel which showed how in Shandong province, many farmers give massive doses of antibiotics and hormones to chickens to reduce the mortality rate and make them grow faster.

The report also showed to the poultry being housed in poor sanitary conditions, which was then sold to two local companies, and the Liuhe Group Co Yingtai, both suppliers of KFC. The Office for Food Safety in Shanghai, however, made it clear that violations of the law will be "appropriately punished" and that the controls will be "further intensified."

Internet users do not seem convinced. A microblogger named "neverbunny" writes: "I will never eat KFC again," while "ninibababa" wants the company "out of China." On the other hand Yum was also in eye of the storm in 2005, when it was found that proposed potentially carcinogenic products in its menu.

Yum has more than 5,100 restaurants in China, the largest foreign food operator in the area. While KFC, as international brand, had earned the reputation of being a "high quality" restaurant. But now, because of these scandals, the competition is unstoppable: the chain Country Style Cooking Restaurant, a Chinese Fast Food from Chongqing, is increasing its turnover dramatically.

The antibiotic chicken is part of a string of food safety scandals that have hit the China in recent years. In 2008 the worst case occurred: melamine, the industrial chemical, was used to improve the production of dairy products including milk powder for babies. At least 300 thousand children were poisoned, and six died.

 

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