A security personnel stands guard in front of an OSI's food processing plant in Langfang, Hebei province
A security personnel stands guard in front of an OSI's food processing plant in Langfang, Hebei provinceReuters

US food giant OSI Group has announced that all products sold by its Asia subsidiary, Shanghai Husi Food, will be withdrawn from shelves over a scandal involving expired meat.

The concerns over the tainted supplies are reported to have spread from China to Hong Kong and Japan.

"To help rebuild the trust of our customers and consumers, as well as to cooperate with the official investigatory process, we are compelled to withdraw all products manufactured by Shanghai Husi from the marketplace," OSI said in a statement.

The company added that it is conducting an internal investigation into possible failures on the part of current and former senior management at Husi Food.

"Should any misconduct be uncovered, we will take swift and decisive action against those responsible, including all relevant disciplinary and/or legal measures," the company added.

In addition, the company appointed a new management team in China to ensure that operations run effectively. OSI's China operations will be managed by global management in accordance with global standards of quality management, the company noted.

"These decisions are the most responsible course of action we can take at this point in time. We are working hard to bring assurance to our customers and ultimate consumers," said Brent Afman, senior vice president and managing director of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa division of OSI.

OSI's owner, Sheldon Lavin, earlier apologised to Chinese customers after Shanghai's Food and Drug Administration seized more than 5,000 boxes of expired meat from warehouses of Shanghai Husi Food after a raid.

In connection with the issue, Shanghai police detained five employees at the firm, including its quality manager.

"I am appalled that something so completely unacceptable has happened in a company that I own. I will not try and defend it or explain it. It was just terribly wrong," Lavin said.

The Chinese local media earlier reported that Shanghai Husi Food sold chicken and beef past their expiry dates to international food chains including McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut. KFC and Pizza Hut are owned by US-based Yum Brands.

Earlier, operations at Shanghai Husi were suspended and all of its meat products were ordered to be taken off the shelves.

Nine companies including KFC, McDonald's, Burger King and Papa John's have used products from Shanghai Husi.

Following the outbreak of the scandal, the companies apologised to Chinese customers and said they were taking the products concerned off the shelves.

"We remain committed to our presence in China and have sent our best team of global experts to ensure we resolve this. We are very proud of our team members and our operations in other parts of China. It reinforces our confidence and commitment to China. We have a great deal yet to deliver to China," Afman added.