- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

International Fast Food Chains Involved in China's Chicken Scandal

Categories: East Asia, China, Japan, Taiwan (ROC), U.S.A., Economics & Business, Food, Health

State broadcaster China Central Television recently exposed [1] that at least two chicken suppliers for American, Japanese and Taiwanese fast-food chains fed their chickens excessive hormones and 18 different types of antibiotics, to make “instant chickens” that grow from 30 grams to 3.5kg within 40 days.

The fast-food chains involved in the food safety scandal are KFC and McDonalds from the USA, Yoshinoya from Japan and Yonghe King from Taiwan.

Currently, China is the biggest market for the fast-food industry. KFC, a chain of the Yum! Brands [2], currently receives 44% of its annual revenue from China, and has become the main target in this drug-fed chicken scandal. According to the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration's report [3] [zh], between 2010 and 2011, among the 19 food samples provided by the Yum! Brands, eight failed antibiotics safety tests.

Animal rights photo by flickr user, Shira Golding (CC: BY-NC)

Since the Chinese people are used to all kinds of toxic food scandals, most of them just feel frustrated about the overall situation. Sarcastic remarks [zh] like the followings are rather common:

美丽人生2673263427 [4]:我很幸运,吃过瘦肉精,喝过三聚氰胺,皮鞋胶囊,假的药,人造鸡蛋,速生鸡,塑化酒,,,,,一般的毒我已习惯,望猛烈的产品结束我的幸运生涯

美丽人生2673263427:I am so lucky. I have tasted Ractopamine meat, Melamine milk [5], capsules made from wasted leather shoes, fake medicine, artificial eggs, fast-growing chicken, plasticizer wine [6]… I am used to all things toxic. Looking forward to more poison to eventually end my luck.

库洪哈密瓜 [7]:以后生病了不用买药了,直接吃只鸡腿就行了。

库洪哈密瓜:In the future, when we are ill, we won't need to buy medicine, a chicken leg will do.

As the scandal involves foreign fast-food chains, which are considered more reliable in food safety control when compared with local restaurants, some nationalistic commentators took the opportunity to attack foreign brands. At the same time, there are also counter-arguments saying that local authorities should take the blame. Below is a selection of comments [8] [zh] from an ifeng.com news thread:


Weirdo_Hai:I wish evil corporations like KFC would leave China's market immediately.


易租易购_以租代购_以租代售:Can we still eat at KFC? It is now proven that foreign fast-food chain also follow our customs. In a country where there is little monitor and the cost of unlawful behavior is so low, any corporation will test the legal line.


璐瑶谣:Shut down all these foreign junk food stores. Open more local Chinese pizza shops, the fortune will then go to the unemployed.


g老三:Toxic chickens are everywhere, where are our monitoring authorities? KFC is just a corporation should it set up its own quality supervision, inspection and quarantine department?


木小兔向前冲:Big tree attracts wind. If we can't eat KFC, can we trust other restaurants?


秦大勇Y:Are the chicken in the open market safe? The Chinese suppliers are the ones to blame. The government is not consistent in monitoring food safety, do you believe that the authorities are really ignorant of such practice?

Other netizens have developed conspiracy theories out of the scandal [zh]:

即墨雅泰侯屹 [9]:肯德基速生鸡的养殖方式至少在中国存在10年了,缘何今天才被央视报道?有人一语道破天机:广告!2013年肯德基不准备在央视做广告了。2011年以前双汇在央视一直投放广告多年,于是什么问题也没有发现,而当决定不投放广告了,结果就出事了。

即墨雅泰侯屹:The practice of KFC chicken farms has been existed in China for at least 10 years. Why has CCTV picked up the news today? Some revealed the answer: Advertisement. KFC plans to stop its advertisement on CCTV. Same thing happened to Shuanghui, before it stopped advertising on CCTV there was no news on the company's food safety problem. As soon as the company stopped advertising on [CCTV], the scandal broke out.

楚奇文kevin [10]:我觉得吧,其实白羽鸡,速生鸡什么的都是多少年公开秘密了。全世界都是这么养殖的,曝光主要是针对白胜公司。针对美帝,因为美帝最近搞过我国企中石油啊,华为啊,中兴啊什么的。赤果果的报复!

楚奇文kevin:Actually, white feather chicken or the fast-growing chicken are open secrets for many years. Chickens are raised like that all over the world. The news is meant to scandalize the Yum! Brand and attack the US imperial power. Recently the US government has been giving Chinese companies a difficult time, look at the scandals around CNPC [11], Huawei [12], and ZTE Corporation [13]. This is obviously revenge.