Audit misled McDonald’s

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McDonald’s felt “a bit deceived” by the audit it had received for Shanghai Husi Food, a Chinese supplier that was shut down this week after a television report showed workers mishandling meat, Don Thompson, the chief executive of the US fast food chain, said on Tuesday.

“We are no longer serving products from the primary facility there that has the challenges and the issues,” he said on a conference call after McDonald’s reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Many foreign restaurant operators and retailers rely on third-party auditors to check whether suppliers comply with food safety rules and other regulations. It is not uncommon for suppliers at the centre of food scandals to have received high marks on their audits.

McDonald’s did not comment on the timing of the Shanghai Husi audit or name the auditing firm that visited the now-controversial plant on its behalf.

China is McDonald’s third-biggest market as measured by the number of restaurants.

“I know there’s a couple of other facilities that they had that have been cleared now by the Chinese government,” Thompson said. It was not immediately clear whether McDonald’s had stopped sourcing products from those facilities.

OSI, the US-based owner of Husi Food, did not have an immediate response to the comments by Thompson. OSI had previously said it believed the Shanghai incident to be an “isolated event”. – Reuters

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