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Health & Environment

China media unfairly attack US food giants over chicken scare

KFC McDonalds ChinaJust weeks after Chinese authorities cleared Yum Brands Inc and McDonald’s Corp of charges they had served chicken laced with excessive chemicals, local media are again attacking the iconic American firms, while barely reporting on the chances of Chinese restaurants selling similar meat.

The official Shanghai Daily, citing a report from the central government’s news portal china.com.cn, said on Thursday one of China‘s largest suppliers to McDonald’s and Yum’s KFC and had bought sick chicken from farms and sold them to the food outlets – a claim a local government in the central province of Henan said was untrue after a preliminary investigation.

Chinese newspapers and websites have also criticized some domestic firms, but industry experts say multinationals are hotter targets given the high profile of their brands.

“KFC and McDonald’s get media attention because they’re the biggest fast-food chains in China. Everyone knows them and everyone talks about them,” said Tan Xiaoxue, a reporter at Sohu.com Inc’s news portal.

“There are some local chains such as Country Style Cooking, but they cannot be compared with international brands, which have much bigger brand recognition and consumer impact.”

In the latest chicken scare case, china.com.cn quoted an unidentified official at Doyoo Group – which sells chicken to KFC and McDonald’s – plus employees at Doyoo’s suppliers as saying chicken that fell ill were slaughtered and shipped to fast food restaurants including the two American giants.

However, the government of Doyoo’s home city Hebi said on Wednesday that it had found no evidence of this in a preliminary probe, and authorities were looking into the case more closely.

In response to the china.com.cn report, Yum’s China unit said it will closely monitor the situation.

“If Doyoo is found to have committed any wrongdoings, it will be subject to severe punishment,” it said via its official microblog account.

Officials at McDonald’s in China and at Doyoo could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls by Reuters.


Last week, Yum warned that sales in China – where it earns over half of its worldwide revenue and operating profit – shrank more than expected in the fourth quarter, citing bad publicity from a government review of its chicken supply.

The firm has been embroiled over the past month in a scare triggered by an official China Central Television report which said some chicken supplied to KFC and McDonald’s contained excess amounts of antiviral drugs and growth hormones.

On investigation, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration found the levels of antibiotics and steroids in KFC chicken were safe, though the watchdog found a suspicious level of an antiviral drug in one of the eight samples tested.

Yum apologized last week to customers over the handling of that scare, but state-run Xinhua news agency immediately weighed in with an editorial on Saturday slamming the U.S. firm.

“Yum’s understated apology is rooted in its arrogance and propensity for unfairly treating Chinese consumers, who usually regard foreign brands as being safer and of higher quality than domestic brands,” Xinhua said.

“Other multinational companies have displayed the same attitude, capitalizing on loopholes in Chinese law and regulations to escape punishment.”

Kevin Der Arslanian, a business analyst at China Market Research Group in Shanghai, said the government is taking a firm stance against foreign companies especially in the food sector given high public concerns over safety.

“They are being harsh on them to show that they are aware of these worries when it comes to food safety,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s unfair that they’re specifically targeting foreign brands. These foreign brands and KFC in particular have positioned themselves as extremely healthful and extremely high quality, and therefore if there are scandals it is only fair that they be hit the hardest.”

Still, not all local news outlets are joining the attack.

Chen Xiaoxiang, a reporter at Hangzhou city newspaper Metropolis Express said his editors chose not to cover the KFC stories because safety violations are a bigger problem for domestic companies.

“We believe that these international companies are already operating in a relatively well regulated way, and compared with many small Chinese workshop-style food chains, they are more trustworthy,” he said.

“Their problems are often minor compared with quality problems at many local companies … Media focus, rather, should be on those ill-regulated Chinese companies.”

Source: Reuters “China media train fire on U.S. food giants over chicken scare”

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

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