Business / Companies

Husi faced unethical practice claims in 2013

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-26 03:44

Shanghai Husi Food, the US-owned Chinese food supplier at the center of a meat safety scandal, won a court case earlier this year against a former quality control officer whose claims included that he was made to forge meat production dates.

Wang Donglai, who worked at the company from 2007 to 2013, sought about 38,000 yuan ($6,100) in compensation for damage to his health from exposure to chlorine used as a cleaning agent by the meat processor.

He also sought to terminate his contract, claiming he was forced to work overtime and made to do "unethical work" that violated food safety laws, court documents showed.

At his hearing in October, Wang said he was unwilling to illegally forge dates at the plant, adding that he repeatedly urged his employer to change a practice that he said violated food safety laws and hurt consumer interests, according to court documents seen by Reuters.

He said the company, which is owned by the privately held OSI Group in Illinois, ignored his appeals.

Wang could not be reached for comment and his lawyer in the case declined to comment.

Shanghai Jiading People's District Court ruled against Wang in January, saying his health was normal based on records provided by his employer. The judge dismissed Wang's claims about forced overtime and also dismissed the allegations about forged production dates because of a lack of evidence, court papers showed.

Xia Yugang, a lawyer who represented Shanghai Husi Food in the case, said it was an individual labor dispute rather than a food safety issue.

Wang's allegations of tampering with food production dates echo those made in a Chinese undercover TV documentary on July 20 that showed staff members at the Shanghai Husi Food plant mixing old meat with fresh meat and reusing meat picked up from the floor.

In the Dragon TV film, Shanghai Husi workers said they kept two record books related to food products, one of which was doctored to be shown to anyone who came to audit the plant.

Several foreign fast-food brands have pulled Shanghai Husi products from their outlets on the mainland, in Hong Kong and Japan. Yum! Brands, which owns the KFC and Pizza Hut chains, has severed its ties with OSI China.

Shanghai police have detained five people, including the head of Shanghai Husi Food and its quality control manager. OSI has apologized to its Chinese consumers.

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