HONG KONG – A U.S. meat supplier is disputing a Chinese court’s verdict that its local subsidiary sold expired chicken and beef to McDonald’s, KFC and other fast food restaurants in China.
OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois also said that it’s considering appealing what it called an “unjust verdict” by a Shanghai court Monday to fine two of its Chinese units and sentence 10 employees to prison in the case.
The scandal was exposed in 2014 by Shanghai’s Dragon TV station, which reported that OSI’s subsidiary repackaged and sold old meat.
The case disrupted operations at chains including Burger King and Starbucks. It also added to the long list of Chinese product safety scandals over the past decade, including phoney or adulterated goods such as milk powder and drugs that have sickened or killed infants, hospital patients and others.
Shanghai’s Jiading District People’s Court said it fined OSI subsidiaries Shanghai Husi Foods Ltd. and Hebei Husi Foods Ltd. 1.2 million yuan ($182,000) each. OSI China general manager, Yang Liqun, was sentenced to three years in prison and a 100,000 yuan fine. Yang, who is an Australian citizen, was also ordered to be deported.
“After an actual investigation was completed, all authorities involved have recognized that this case has never been about food safety,” OSI said in a statement. “The verdict is inconsistent with the facts and evidence that were presented in the court proceedings.”
The company added that it is “forced to consider an appeal through all legal channels” and is also weighing legal action against Dragon TV.