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December 24, 2012

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Authorities checking chicken still on sale in Shanghai stores

CHICKEN from the Shandong Liuhe Group, supplier of the "instant chicken" highlighted in a CCTV investigation, is still being sold in some supermarkets in Shanghai.

The city's food and drug authorities said there had been no order, so far, to pull it from the shelves. An investigation is under way and the chicken will be tested with any problem products be sealed and destroyed, officials said.

Chickens raised on farms in east China's Shandong Province and sent to a Liuhe slaughterhouse were said to have been fed illegal drugs and 18 kinds of antibiotics to keep them alive and speed their growth. Yum Brands Inc, the world's largest restaurant company and owner of KFC, was said to have known about the antibiotics as far back as 2010.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said one of 32 samples taken from eight batches of Yum Brands' raw chicken was suspected to be contaminated with antiviral medicine amantadine which can affect the central nervous system.

However, none of the samples exceeded national standards for antibiotics or glucocorticoids, a class of steroid hormone.

A Shanghai resident surnamed Xu said he purchased chicken from Liuhe at a Tesco supermarket on Daduhe Road last week. After news of the scandal broke, he found it was still on sale, the Xinmin Evening News reported.

Chicken from Liuhe, with a November production date, was still on sale at a Tesco supermarket on Wuyi Road over the weekend, the newspaper said.

Another resident surnamed Cao said he purchased chicken from Liuhe last week at an RT-Mart on Chunshen Road but returned it when he heard about the scandal, the newspaper said.

Officials with Tesco and RT-Mart said customers could return chicken from Liuhe with their invoices for a refund, but they were investigating whether there was any connection with the "instant chicken" in the TV report.

In Beijing, chicken from Liuhe has been banned from sale at 23 restaurant or food companies, including fast food restaurant Beijing Yoshinoya Co, according to Xinhua news agency.

Some dishes incorporating chicken have been withdrawn from sale at Yoshinoya restaurants in the capital, Xinhua said.

In Shanghai, some Yoshinoya restaurant staff said chicken dishes were still available but refused to say whether the chicken was from the Liuhe Group.

The chicken in Beijing has been sealed and food safety officials are testing samples with results to be published soon.

McDonald's said the Liuhe Group was a second-tier supplier, supplying chicken to its two main suppliers, Shanghai Television said. It stopped using raw chicken from Liuhe on December 18.

The SFDA said it had started testing samples from McDonald's and would publish results soon.


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