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China media train fire on US food giants over chicken scare

Published on Jan 17, 2013 2:27 PM
 
 A customer eating Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in an outlet in Shanghai. Chinese customers of KFC, the biggest fast food chain in the country, said they would still patronise it despite a government food safety investigation which has hit sales. US-based Yum! Brands Inc, whose portfolio includes KFC and Pizza Hut, said this week that sales in its key China market were forecast to fall more than expected in the fourth quarter in the wake of the probe into excess antibiotic levels in chickens.  -- PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - Just weeks after Chinese authorities cleared Yum Brands Inc and McDonald's Corp of charges they had served chicken laced with excessive chemicals, local media are again attacking the iconic American firms, while barely reporting on the chances of Chinese restaurants selling similar meat.

The official Shanghai Daily, citing a report from the central government's news portal china.com.cn, said on Thursday one of China's largest suppliers to McDonald's and Yum's KFC and had bought sick chicken from farms and sold them to the food outlets - a claim a local government in the central province of Henan said was untrue after a preliminary investigation.

Chinese newspapers and websites have also criticised some domestic firms, but industry experts say multinationals are hotter targets given the high profile of their brands.

"KFC and McDonald's get media attention because they're the biggest fast-food chains in China. Everyone knows them and everyone talks about them," said Ms Tan Xiaoxue, a reporter at Sohu.com Inc's news portal.

 
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