McDonald’s Hong Kong is under fire for its tardy response to developments related to its supplier Shanghai Husi Food and its handling of food-safety concerns in the city.
Shanghai Husi Food was shut down by mainland authorities last week after reports that it had sold expired or rotten meat to foreign fast-food chains.
Lee Siu-yuen, Assistant Director of Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, said on Monday that McDonald’s senior management declined to attend a meeting planned last Wednesday by the department’s Center for Food Safety.
Saying they were “too busy”, the executives only agreed to a teleconference, the official said, according to Ming Pao Daily. Lee also said McDonald’s Hong Kong did not present information quickly on its food imports of the past two years.
The government is looking at asking food importers involved in safety issues to present import documents within a reasonable time to prevent procrastination, sources were quoted as saying.
Under current regulations, importers are required to keep such records for at least 24 months for food products that have shelf life of three months or longer, and the department has the right to check the records at any time. Anyone violating the rule could face a fine of as much as HK$10,000 (US$1,290) and three months in prison.
Wong Pik-wan, chairwoman of the Legislative Council’s food safety and environmental hygiene committee, said Monday after a meeting with government officials that the administration was too weak in dealing with McDonald’s Hong Kong. Authorities should look deeper into the issue and find out who should be held accountable, Wong said.
Sophia Chan Siu-chee, Under Secretary for Food and Health, said in response that authorities have launched further inspections on the company.
Meanwhile, many people in Hong Kong felt the apology that McDonald’s HK managing director Randy Lai Wai-sze offered at a press conference on Sunday was lacking in sincerity. In a phone survey conducted by Apple Daily in the past two days, 77.3 percent of 1,249 respondents said they will not dine at McDonald’s in the near term.
The report noted that one the firm’s busiest franchises, at Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay, was seen only half full during lunch hours on Monday.
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