March 3, 2013
Another day, another Chinese food scare. KFC is dropping more than 1,000 farms from its network of suppliers in China to make sure the food it serves is safe after a scandal over tainted chicken hurt company sales in that key (meaning large) emerging market last year.
The issue came up in December when officials in China’s commercial hub of Shanghai and the northern province of Shanxi were looking at KFC suppliers following claims that the chicken the company was selling had a high antibiotics content.
The scare caused a six percent drop-off in China sales of KFC’s parent company, Yum! Brands in the final quarter of 2012, Agence France Presse reported, which was more severe than the firm’s previous estimate of a four percent decline.
Company officials knew of the problem in 2010, but kept quiet
KFC says it will no longer use chicken farms that run potential risk of further supplying tainted product, step up its screen process of suppliers and increase self-inspections to address future food safety concerns, the company said in a statement.
“It will always be our top priority to provide customers with the safest chicken with the best quality,” Yum China’s chairman and top executive, Sam Su, said in the statement. “We have seen some safety problems from the incident…and we aim to address the issue within the shortest time.”
The company also vowed to improve its communication efforts with the Chinese government and the public following an admission by the Chinese branch of Yum in January that it failed to inform the proper authorities about tests showing high levels of antibiotics in chicken.