H.J. Heinz Co., the United States food giant made famous by ketchup, is ramping up its supply tracking system in China after becoming entangled in its latest food safety scandal.
The company apologized to Chinese consumers last week after excessive amounts of lead were found in some of its infant formula products. It withdrew those products from store shelves, China Daily reports.
The incident followed a scandal involving expired meat sold to some foreign brands including KFC parent Yum Brands Inc., McDonald’s Corp., Wal-Mart Stores and Incrra Co-operative Group Ltd.
Heinz said it has identified the supplier and ingredient — skimmed soybean powder. It was responsible for the recall of four batches of its AD Calcium Hi-Protein Cereal from stores in eastern China.
In a statement, Heinz promised to keep improving traceable food safety control systems “from farm to factory”.
Barcode tracking systems for produce, common in the United States and Europe, are largely absent in China.
“Standardized traceability of food products does not currently exist in China. It’s a long way from it,” David Mahon, a Beijing-based managing director of an investment firm focused on China’s food and beverage sectors, was quoted as saying.
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