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Yum! Brands Drops Over 1,000 Chinese Slaughterhouses After KFC Scandal

Yum! Brands Drops Over 1,000 Chinese Slaughterhouses After KFC Scandal

After contaminated chicken found, Yum! Brands China will cut ties with more than 1,000 slaughterhouses.

After a KFC food-safety scandal in November, Yum! Brands China plans to cut ties with more than 1,000 chicken slaughterhouses in order to assure consumers that they are using chemical-free poultry, according to The Chicago Tribune.

KFC China began losing business in December 2012, soon after the Chinese Media reported that one of the company’s chicken suppliers, Su Hai Group, was using chemicals to accelerate the growth cycle of their chickens from 100 days to a mere 45. KFC responded by denying the allegations and explaining that Su Hai Group supplied less than 1% of the brand’s chicken, but diners were not moved by their response. Business in China’s 5,300 KFC restaurants began to decline anyway.

Now, Sam Su, CEO and Chairman of Yum! Brands China, is on a mission to regain his customers’ trust. Su wants to rebuild the image of KFC and assure consumers that the chicken will be fresh and additive-free this time around by cutting off relations with the substandard slaughterhouses that once supplied the chain.

“Some of the chicken houses are just very outdated and small. The management is not up to par, so our first thing is to eliminate some of the chicken houses at high risk,” Mr. Su explained in an interview with CNBC.

Mr. Su hopes that he can earn KFC China’s consumers’ trust back by strongly taking action and getting rid of unreliable suppliers once and for all. “Anytime you respond to the consumer’s concerns with concrete actions, you will earn their trust back.”

Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer at the Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter at @skylerbouchard.

KFC’s Radical Approach to China

Global companies face a crucial question when they enter emerging markets: How far should they go to localize their offerings? Typically they try to sell core products or services pretty much as they’ve been sold in Europe or the United States, with headquarters calling all the shots—and usually with disappointing results.

The authors, both of Harvard Business School, examined why KFC China has been able to find fertile ground in a market that is notoriously challenging for Western fast-food chains. KFC’s executives believed that the dominant logic behind the chain’s growth in the U.S.—a limited menu, small stores, and an emphasis on takeout—wouldn’t produce the kind of success they were looking for in China. KFC China offers important lessons for global executives seeking guidance in determining how much of their existing business model to keep in emerging markets—and how much to throw away.

Global companies face a critical question when they enter emerging markets: How far should they go to localize their offerings? Should they adapt existing products just enough to appeal to consumers in those markets? Or should they rethink the business model from the ground up?

The typical Western approach to foreign expansion is to try to sell core products or services pretty much as they’ve always been sold in Europe or the United States, with headquarters watching closely to make sure the model is exported correctly. This often starts with selling imported goods to the expat community or opening one or two stores for a trial run. Once such an approach is entrenched, companies are reluctant to rethink the model. U.S. retailers and food corporations that have spent years saturating the huge home market tend to cling to what has worked in the past. Domino’s Pizza nearly failed in Australia because it underestimated the need to adapt its offerings to local tastes only after it turned the country over to a local master franchisee did Domino’s become the largest pizza chain there.

A master of adaptation is the Swiss food giant Nestlé, which has created an array of products that incorporate differing regional flavors—and cater to local tastes—in coffee, chocolate, ice cream, and even water. For a hundred years Nestlé’s country managers have been empowered to say no to the head office if a product or a campaign doesn’t suit their locales. Perhaps the greatest tribute to the strategy is that many consumers around the world believe Nestlé is a local company.

One of the most impressive stories of a U.S. multinational in an emerging market is unfolding right now in China: KFC is opening one new restaurant a day, on average (on a base of some 3,300), with the intention of reaching 15,000 outlets. The company has achieved this success by abandoning the dominant logic behind its growth in the United States: a limited menu, low prices, and an emphasis on takeout.

We recently studied KFC China’s transformation of the business model that had made Kentucky Fried Chicken a global brand, and we learned how, in the process, the company accumulated strengths and competencies that now pose formidable barriers to competitors. KFC China offers important lessons for global executives who seek to determine how much of an existing business model is worth keeping in emerging markets and how much should be thrown away.

'People have gone chicken crazy': what the KFC crisis means for the brand

Logistics problems left the firm’s UK supplies stuck in a warehouse. What went wrong and can KFC and DHL recover?

A closed sign outside a KFC restaurant in Ashford, Kent. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

A closed sign outside a KFC restaurant in Ashford, Kent. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Last modified on Sat 18 Aug 2018 14.45 BST

A t lunchtime on Friday, George Cheah, or George Junior as he is known, doesn’t really have the time to talk. “Honestly we are so busy, it’s gone absolutely mad. People have gone chicken crazy,” he says over the phone, while people shout orders in the background.

Cheah’s family-run fried chicken joint, Chicken George in Luton, won best takeaway at the British Takeaway Awards in 2016 so they are never short of custom, but since the great fried chicken crisis of 2018 began more than a week ago they have been inundated.

“I reckon our business has doubled in the past week,” said Cheah. “We’ve been really, really busy, like packed. With KFC being shut, lots of people are tagging us on social media saying they’d rather have a George anyway.”

Chicken George is not the only takeaway straining under the demand for fried chicken as customers attempt to get their fix following the closure of most of KFC’s UK outlets earlier this week. The hashtag #KFCCrisis trended on Twitter, and no fewer than three police forces issued statements asking the public not to contact them about the closures. Police in Tower Hamlets issued a terse tweet:

Please do not contact us about the #KFCCrisis - it is not a police matter if your favourite eatery is not serving the menu that you desire.

&mdash Tower Hamlets MPS (@MPSTowerHam) February 20, 2018

KFC was brief and somewhat sheepish in the statement posted in its shops, saying there had been “a few hiccups with the delivery today”. The crisis soon spread, however, leading the company to point the finger at its new logistics partners. “We’ve brought a new delivery partner on board, but they’ve had a couple of teething problems,” it said in a statement. There were reports of desperate managers attempting to bulk-buy chicken from supermarkets, and of frustrated attempts to give away surplus chicken in a storage depot that the local council confirmed had not been registered.

So where did it all go wrong? The “new delivery partner”, otherwise known as the behemoth DHL, took over the KFC logistics contract on Valentine’s Day, alongside Quick Service Logistics (QSL), which has supplied KFC in Europe since 2011. Problems began almost immediately. By 16 February, KFC had started to shut down locations after managers complained of delays to deliveries and by 18 February only 266 of 900 restaurants in the UK were open.

“I’ve never heard of anything go down so quickly, it’s been absolutely shocking,” said Dr Jonathan Owens, an expert in operations management and the supply chain at the University of Salford business school. “I think they’ve been caught out by the speed and the limited amount of space there is for error with such a highly perishable product.”

A KFC apology advertisement in some newspapers. Photograph: Ray Tang/Rex/Shutterstock

The logistics of fresh chicken are fiercely regimented, according to Owens. From egg to slaughter is around 35 days, with most chickens gassed, plucked, cut up into saleable pieces and distributed to temperature-controlled warehouses before being sent in refrigerated lorries to outlets. KFC sells around 676m pieces of chicken a year and buys 450,000 birds a week in the UK. An unspecified number are imported from other European countries, Brazil and Thailand, according to its website.

Much of the speculation for the cause of the disruption has centred on the fact that DHL has one centralised warehouse, in contrast to the previous contractor, Bidvest, a specialised food distributor that operated from six.

Malory Davies, the editor of Logistics Manager, said: “It’s not necessarily a bad choice to have one location, but the scale is the challenge. If you are serving 900 sites from one warehouse it’s difficult,” he says. “You would think if you team with a company you have worked with for years in Europe and pair it with the biggest logistics operator in the world it would be a safe bet. We are all agog to see what has actually gone wrong.”

For the moment, DHL remains tight-lipped about the fiasco. It apologised for the “unforeseen interruption” and said: “Whilst we are not the only party responsible for the supply chain to KFC, we do apologise for the inconvenience and disappointment caused to KFC and their customers by this incident.”

Richard Wilding , a professor of supply change management at the Cranfield School of Management, said the disruption revealed the extent to which companies have become compartmentalised.

Henry Ford may have raised the cows used to produce the leather on his vehicles’ seats, but modern companies are more like football teams, with specialised players in individual roles. “Companies are no longer in competition with other companies. It’s the supply chains that are directly competing,” he says.

Say What Now? Horse Meat Found at Taco Bell

LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) – Britain’s food regulator said on Friday that testing had found horsemeat in ground beef at Taco Bell UK fast-food outlets, a discovery that puts new pressure on parent Yum Brands Inc, which is grappling with a food safety scare in China.

Taco Bell said the horsemeat issue is isolated to its UK market, where the Mexican-inspired chain has just three restaurants, and that it will step up testing of its beef.

On Monday, Yum said it would stop using more than 1,000 poultry slaughterhouses in China as it moves to tighten food safety and reverse a sharp drop in business at KFC restaurants in its top market after a scare over contaminated chicken.

Europe’s horsemeat scandal erupted in January, when testing in Ireland revealed that some beef products also contained equine DNA.

It since has spread across the continent, ensnaring numerous well-known brands, prompting product withdrawals, consumer concerns and government investigations into the region’s complex food-processing chains.

Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) said on Friday it had conducted 1,797 tests over the last seven days. More than 99 percent of the readings came back negative for horsemeat levels at or above 1 percent.

However, four tests were positive, it said. They were for Taco Bell ground beef, beef skewers made by catering company Brakes, and two types of Birds Eye ready meals – spaghetti bolognese and beef lasagne.

The Birds Eye meals were withdrawn from sale last week after tests on a product the company sold in Belgium produced by the same supplier came back positive.

The FSA said no tests to date on samples containing horse DNA had found the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone (bute), which is banned from most medical uses in humans for safety reasons.

Taco Bell tested the meat at its UK restaurants as soon as news of the horsemeat contamination surfaced, Taco Bell UK spokesman Christopher Fuller said in a statement.

“Based on that testing we learned ingredients supplied to us from one supplier in Europe tested positive for horsemeat. We immediately withdrew it from sale, discontinued purchase of that meat and contacted the FSA with this information,” Fuller said.

Taco Bell, like many other companies, cannot say for certain whether any of the horsemeat-tainted product was served to consumers, Fuller said.

The chain will test every batch of ground beef when it arrives at its processor and again before it is delivered to restaurants to make sure it is 100 percent beef, Fuller said.

“We apologize to our customers and take this matter very seriously,” he added.

Yum has seen a sharp drop in business at its nearly 5,300, mostly KFC, restaurants in China after news reports and government investigations in the Asian country focused on chemical residue found in a small portion of its chicken supply.

Yum was not fined by Chinese food safety authorities.

Hamburger chain Burger King in January said traces of horse DNA had been found in samples of hamburger patties from a food-processing plant in Ireland but that the meat never reached its restaurants.

Shares in Yum were off 0.6 percent at $65.07 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Earlier on Friday, the British Retail Consortium, an industry body, said the latest round of testing by grocers including all the major supermarkets had produced no new positive results.

China meat scandal hits Starbucks, Burger King

BEIJING >> A suspect meat scandal in China engulfed Starbucks and Burger King on Tuesday and spread to Japan where McDonald’s said the Chinese supplier accused of selling expired beef and chicken had provided 20 percent of the meat for its chicken nuggets.

Chinese authorities expanded their investigation of the meat supplier, Shanghai company Husi Food Co. A day after Husi’s food processing plant in Shanghai was sealed by the China Food and Drug Administration, the agency said Tuesday that inspectors also will look at its facilities and meat sources in five provinces in central, eastern and southern China.

The scandal surrounding Husi Food, which is owned by OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois, has added to a string of safety scares in China over milk, medicines and other goods that have left the public wary of dairies, restaurants and other suppliers.

Food safety violations will be "severely punished," the food agency said on its website.

Starbucks Corp. on Tuesday said it removed from its shelves sandwiches made with chicken that originated at Husi. Burger King Corp. said it stopped using hamburger it received from a supplier that used product from Husi. Pizza restaurant chain Papa John’s International Inc. announced it stopped using meat from Husi.

In Japan, McDonald’s Corp. said it stopped selling McNuggets at more than 1,300 outlets that used chicken supplied by Husi. It said the Shanghai company had been supplying chicken to it since 2002.

A Shanghai broadcaster, Dragon TV, reported Sunday that Husi repackaged old beef and chicken and put new expiration dates on them. It said they were sold to McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants.

McDonald’s and Yum Brands Inc., which owns KFC and Pizza Hut, said they immediately stopped using meat from Husi. A third restaurant chain, Taiwanese-owned Dicos, also said Monday it stopped using meat from Husi.

In a statement, Husi said it was "appalled by the report" and would cooperate with the investigation. It promised to share the results with the public.

"Our company management believes this to be an isolated event, but takes full responsibility for the situation and will take appropriate actions swiftly and comprehensively," Husi said.

Some companies said they didn’t deal with Husi but had discovered their suppliers bought meat from that company.

Food and drug safety is an unusually sensitive issue in China following scandals over the past decade in which infants, hospital patients and others have been killed or sickened by phony or adulterated milk powder, drugs and other goods.

Foreign fast food brands are seen as more reliable than Chinese competitors, though local brands have made big improvements in quality.

"If confirmed, the practices outlined in the report are completely unacceptable to McDonald’s," the company’s Chinese business said in a statement.

Yum’s KFC is China’s biggest restaurant chain, with more than 4,000 outlets and plans to open 700 more this year.

The company, based in Louisville, Kentucky, said in a statement that "food safety is the most important priority for us."

"We will not tolerate any violations of government laws and regulations from our suppliers," it said.

KFC sales in China plunged after state television reported in December 2013 some poultry suppliers violated rules on drug use in chickens. KFC overhauled quality controls and eliminated more than 1,000 small poultry producers from its supply network.

In Japan, McDonald’s spokesman Kenji Kaniya said the affected stores are in Tokyo area and the cities of Nagano and Shizuoka.

Other chicken used by McDonald’s in Japan comes from suppliers in Thailand and China, Kaniya said.

Associated Press researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai and AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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KFC launches China campaign to rebuild brand

BEIJING » KFC launched a campaign Monday (Sunday in Hawaii) to rebuild its battered brand in China, promising tighter quality control after a scandal over misuse of drugs by its poultry suppliers.

The company, a unit of Yum Brands Inc., promised to test meat for banned drugs, strengthen oversight of farmers and encourage them to improve their technology. It said more than 1,000 small producers used by its 25 poultry suppliers have been eliminated from its network.

KFC, which is China’s biggest fast-food chain with more than 4,000 outlets, was hit hard when state television reported in December that some suppliers violated rules on the use of drugs to fatten chickens. The company estimates January sales plunged 37 percent.

“Starting now, we will stress strict management and the principle of zero tolerance in food safety,” Sam Sun, the chairman of Yum Restaurants China, said at a news conference. “We will immediately drop any supplier that lacks the determination or the ability to manage breeding well.”

The complaint against KFC was less serious than other product scandals in China over the past decade in which infants, hospital patients and others have been killed by phony or adulterated milk powder, drugs and other goods. But KFC’s high profile attracted attention, and its status as a foreign company with less political influence meant Chinese media could publicize its troubles more freely.

Yum, based in Louisville, Kentucky, said it expects sales in China to tumble by up to 25 percent in the current quarter. The company also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Chen Hao, a stock market analyst who was having lunch at an outlet of the Japanese chain Yoshinoya in Shanghai, said Monday the KFC scandal soured him on the whole fast food industry.

“There is just no safe restaurant food in China,” said Chen, 34. “I would never let my 9-year-old boy have KFC again.”

Xu Xiao, a 32-year-old Japanese translator with a 17-month-old son, was having lunch in a KFC before a downtown appointment and said the food tasted fresher than that of Chinese chains. Still, she chose a shrimp burger instead of chicken because of the scandal.

“The quality problem, I’m not surprised to see it. I know that I cannot avoid this problem when I eat out,” she said. “But I would not allow my child to eat in KFC.”

CEO David Novak has said the company would need the “gift of time” for the controversy to die down. KFC has declined to say when it expects the business to fully recover.

The stakes are high for Yum. Even before the chicken scare, sales growth in China was slowing and fell into negative territory in October.

Executives blamed slower Chinese economic growth and the comparison with earlier explosive expansion. But KFC and other Western fast food chains also face mounting competition from young but ambitious Chinese rivals.

The locals started out copying global brands but are developing their own identity and the elusive skills to manage chains of hundreds of outlets and networks of far-flung suppliers.

One chain, Yonghe Dawang, copied KFC’s Colonel Sanders logo so closely with its image of a smiling, grandfatherly Chinese man that Western tourists did a double-take at its restaurants.

More recently, Yonghe Dawang has developed its own image and switched to a logo of a noodle bowl. Since being acquired by Jollibee Foods Corp., a Philippine fast food upstart that has expanded throughout Southeast Asia, Yonghe Dawang has expanded to 307 restaurants.

Zhen Gong Fu, which sells bowls of rice with beef, pork and other meat, has 479 restaurants nationwide. Other competitors include Master Kong Chef’s Table, with 100 outlets in 30 cities.

Executives note that Yum has bounced back from other troubles, such as an avian flu scare in 2005 that dragged down sales by as much as 40 percent.

The company says it plans to maintain its rapid pace of new restaurant openings in China.

Another 700 new sites are planned for this year, with Yum focusing more on cities outside Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen where it sees greater potential for growth.

AP Business Writer Candice Choi in New York City and AP researchers Flora Ji in Beijing and Fu Ting in Shanghai contributed.

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The company was established by John W. Tyson in 1935, [7] and benefited during World War II when chicken was not included in foods that were rationed. [8] As of 2019, the company employs 141,000 people, [2] including 122,000 in the United States. [9] Tyson's locations are concentrated in the Midwest, with 16 locations in Arkansas, 11 in Texas, 9 in Iowa, and the remainder mostly in the eastern US. [7]

Tyson produces about one fifth of the beef, chicken, and pork sold in the United States. [10] It is one of the largest U.S. marketers of chicken, beef and pork to retail grocers, broad line foodservice distributors and national fast food and full-service restaurant chains fresh beef and pork frozen and fully cooked chicken, beef and pork products case-ready beef and pork supermarket deli chicken products meat toppings for the pizza industry and retail frozen pizza club store chicken, beef and pork ground beef and flour tortillas. It supplies Yum! Brands chains that use chicken, including KFC and Taco Bell, as well as McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Wal-Mart, Kroger, IGA, Beef O'Brady's, small restaurant businesses, and prisons. [ citation needed ]

The company makes a wide variety of animal-based, prepared foods and plant-based products at its 123 food processing plants. It produces many different products, including Buffalo wings, boneless Buffalo wings, chicken nuggets, and tenders. Its plants slaughter approximately 155,000 cattle, 461,000 pigs, and 45,000,000 chickens every week. [11] Their largest meat packing facility is their beef production plant in Dakota City, Nebraska. Other plants include feed mills, hatcheries, farms and tanneries. [ citation needed ]

In 2019, the company entered the plant protein category with their Raised & Rooted brand. [12] The brand initially included vegetarian nuggets as well as burgers with a blend of beef and pea protein, [13] [14] then expanded to include tenders. In 2020 Tyson discontinued the burger and removed egg whites from the nuggets, announcing that the Raised & Rooted brand would be free of animal products moving forward. [15] [16] In 2021, the company launched two vegetarian patty breakfast sandwiches under its Jimmy Dean brand. [17] [18]

Acquisitions and investments Edit

In 2001, Tyson Foods acquired IBP, Inc., the largest beef packer and number two pork processor in the United States., for US$3.2 billion in cash and stock. [19] Along with its purchase of IBP, it also acquired the naming rights to an event center in Sioux City, Iowa. [20] Tyson has also acquired such companies as Hudson Foods Company, Garrett poultry, Washington Creamery, Franz Foods, Prospect Farms, Krispy Kitchens, Ocoma Foods, Cassady Broiler, Vantress Pedigree, Wilson Foods, Honeybear Foods, Mexican Original, Valmac Industries, Heritage Valley, Lane Poultry, Cobb-Vantress, Holly Farms, Wright Brand Foods, Inc. and Don Julio Foods. On May 29, 2014, the company announced a $6.13 billion cash offer to acquire all the shares in Hillshire Brands, two days after a $6.4 billion cash and shares bid for Hillshire by Pilgrim's Corp. [21] In June 2014, Tyson won the bidding war against Pilgrim's Pride, agreeing to buy the maker of Jimmy Dean sausage and Ball Park hot dogs for $8.5 billion. [22] On July 28, 2014, the company said it would sell its Mexican and Brazilian poultry businesses to JBS S.A. for $575 million and use the proceeds to pay down debt from its pending $7.7 billion purchase of Hillshire Brands Co. [23]

In April 2017, Tyson announced plans to acquire AdvancePierre Foods Holdings, a supplier of packaged sandwiches, for approximately $3.2 billion. [24]

Tyson Foods bought the Philadelphia-based cheesesteak company Original Philly Holdings in November 2017. [25]

In May 2018, Tyson announced the acquisition of American Proteins, Inc. and AMPRO Products, Inc. for approximately $850 million. [26]

On June 1, 2018, Tyson announced that it would sell the Sara Lee, Van's, Chef Pierre and Bistro Collection brands to Kohlberg & Company. [27] The sale was completed on August 1, forming Sara Lee Frozen Bakery, which will be based in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. [28]

Tyson Foods agreed to acquire the organic chicken and chicken sausage brand Smart Chicken and parent company Tecumseh Poultry in mid 2018. [29] [30]

On August 9, 2018, Tyson announced that it would sell its pizza crust business, including TNT Crust, to Austin-based Peak Rock Capital, who completed the acquisition on September 4. [31] [32]

On August 20, 2018, Tyson announced its intent to acquire food supplier Keystone Foods from Marfrig. [33] Tyson announced it had completed the acquisition on November 30, 2018. [34]

On February 7, 2019, Tyson Foods reached an agreement to acquire the European and Thai businesses of Brazilian food company BRF. [35] The acquisition was completed on June 3, 2019. [36]

On January 10, 2020, Tyson Foods announced that it sold its Golden Island jerky business to Jack Link's. [37]

Meat alternatives and clean meat Edit

In 2016, Tyson Foods bought a 5% stake in the meat alternative company Beyond Meat, becoming the first major meat producer to invest in a meat alternative company. [38] [39] Tyson made an additional investment in Beyond Meat in 2017. [40] In 2019, Tyson sold its stake in advance of Beyond Meat's initial public offering, with CEO Noel White saying Tyson intended to develop its own meat alternatives. [41]

In early 2018, Tyson, through its venture capital arm Tyson Ventures, funded clean meat (cultured meat) research with an investment in California-based Memphis Meats. [42] [43] [44] [45] The same year, Tyson Ventures also invested $2.2 million in Israel-based clean meat company Future Meat. [46] [47]

Former CEO Tom Hayes said that Tyson's investments in clean meat and meat alternatives "might seem counterintuitive", but they are part of an effort to meet future consumer demand in a sustainable way. [48] [49] [50]

Corporate charity Edit

Since 2000, Tyson Foods has donated millions of dollars in cash to help non-profit organizations across the country. Forbes named Tyson Foods the second most proportionally generous company for its donations in 2007 totaling 1.6 percent ($8 million) of its annual operating income. [51] Tyson initiated the KNOW Hunger campaign in early 2011 to raise awareness of hunger in the United States. After the Joplin tornado of 2011, Tyson sent 77,000 pounds of food to the city. [52] It also sent 100,000 pounds of food to the communities along the Gulf of Mexico after the April 20, 2010, oil spill. [53] Tyson has supported "Little Free Pantries," [54] and has partnered with the Chicago Urban League for educational programs on misconceptions about SNAP (food stamp) benefits. [55] Tyson Foods has made political donations to both major parties. [54] Tyson "pledged to invest $50 million by 2020 in various efforts to fight food insecurity" in 2015. The company exceeded that goal, with contributions of over $60 million to start the year 2020. [56]

Religious activities Edit

In addition to placing 128 part-time chaplains (including both Protestant and Catholic Christians and Muslim Imams) in 78 Tyson plants, [57] in 2006 the company invited their customers to download a prayer book, containing prayers from many faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Native American spirituality, from the company's website to read during mealtime. [58] [59]

Research and development Edit

In 2007, Tyson created the Tyson Discovery Center, a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m 2 ) R&D center at their headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, to work on new products and better packaging. [60] [61] They later opened a second Discovery Center in Downers Grove, Illinois. [62]

As of 2017, Tyson has about 300 employees in R&D. [62]

Board of Directors Edit

  • Kevin M. McNamara [64]
  • Les R. Baledge [64]
  • Gaurdie E. Banister, Jr [64]
  • Dean Banks [65][64]
  • David J. Bronczek [64]
  • Mikel A. Durham [64]
  • Jonathan D. Mariner [64]
  • Cheryl S. Miller [64]
  • Jeffrey K. Schomburger [64]
  • Robert C. Thurber [64]
  • Barbara A. Tyson [64]
  • Noel White [64]

CEOs Edit

John W. Tyson, the founder, was CEO from 1935 until his death in 1967. [66]

Don Tyson served as the company's CEO and chairman from 1967 to 1991. [67]

Leland Tollett was CEO from 1991 until 1998. [68]

John H. Tyson served as CEO from 1999 to 2006. [69]

Richard L. Bond was CEO of the company from 2006 until January 7, 2009, when he stepped down and his position was filled by temporary replacement Leland Tollett. Donnie Smith served as CEO from November 2009 to 2016. In November 2016, the company announced Smith would step down at the end of the year and would be succeeded by company president Tom Hayes. [70]

Hayes was replaced by Noel White in September 2018. [71]

In October 2020 Noel White was replaced by former Alphabet executive Dean Banks. [65] [72]

Tyson Foods has been responsible for numerous instances of environmental damage. [73] Tyson is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the global food industry. According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Tyson is among the largest single sources of greenhouse gases in the world when the whole process of rearing animals for slaughter (such as producing feed for the animals and using agriculture chemicals) is considered. [74]

Tyson has been involved in several lawsuits related to air and water pollution. In June 2003, the company admitted to illegally dumping untreated wastewater from its poultry processing plant near Sedalia, Missouri, from 1998 to 2001. [73] [75] The company pleaded guilty to 20 felony violations of the federal Clean Water Act. [73] According to a Department of Justice attorney, the dumping had continued even after the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched the plant in 1999. [75] As part of the plea agreement, the company agreed to pay $7.5 million in fines: $5.5 million to the federal government, $1 million to the state of Missouri, and $1 million to the Missouri Natural Resources Protection Fund. [75] The company also agreed to hire an outside consultant to perform an environmental audit, and institute an "enhanced environmental management system" at the Sedalia plant. [76] At the same time, Tyson also settled a case filed by the Missouri attorney general's office related to the same illegal dumping. [ citation needed ]

In 2002, three residents of Western Kentucky, together with the Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit concerning the discharge of dangerous quantities of ammonia from Tyson's Western Kentucky factories. Tyson settled the suit in January 2005, agreeing to spend $500,000 to mitigate and monitor the ammonia levels. [77]

In 2004, Tyson was one of six poultry companies to pay a $7.3 million settlement fee to the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to settle charges that the use of chicken waste as fertilizer had created phosphorus pollution in Tulsa's main drinking water sources. [78]

In 2005, Tyson settled a $500,000 lawsuit related to air pollution in Kentucky. [73]

Tyson's processing plants generate a vast supply of animal fats. In late 2006, the company created a business unit called Tyson Renewable Energy to examine ways of commercializing the use of this leftover material by converting it into biofuels. [79] The unit also examined the potential use of poultry litter to generate energy and other products. [80]

Tyson's 2010 Sustainability Report said that it had reduced water use by 7.6 percent between October 2004 and 2009, and reduced wastewater related permit exceedances by 5.4 percent during 2007–2009. However, the company reported a 51.9 percent increase in violation notices related to wastewater, storm water, and drinking water. The company reduced landfill solid waste by 12.5 percent during 2008–2009. [81]

As of 2010, six of Tyson Foods' wastewater treatment facilities capture biogas via enclosed anaerobic lagoons. Four of the systems use the biogas as an alternative fuel to natural gas during 2008–2009, the four facilities used 1.8 billion cubic feet of biogas, replacing 1.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas and saving the company approximately $9.1 million. [81]

According to Tyson's 2012 Sustainability Report, the company reduced total water use by 4.7 percent during 2011–2012, but normalized water use increased 1 percent over the same period. Through conservation efforts and closures, the company reduced water use by 10.9 percent between October 2004 and 2012. During 2010–2012, Tyson Foods reduced wastewater related permit exceedances by 48 percent and notices of violations by 86 percent. Tyson reduced greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 8 percent during 2010–2011, and the company cut 145 million truck miles via lightweight equipment purchases, packaging improvements, and use of rail transport. [82]

In 2013, Tyson paid nearly $4 million in fines due to eight separate incidents between 2006 and 2010 where it accidentally released anhydrous ammonia, an extremely hazardous substance which causes chemical-type burns. [73] These releases killed at least one worker and injured nearly a dozen other. [73]

In Newsweek 's 2017 "green ranking", an environmental performance assessment of the largest public companies, Tyson Foods ranked number 223 in the U.S. and number 312 in the world. [83]

Tyson Foods worked with the World Resources Institute to set a goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030. The plan was accepted by the Science Based Targets Initiative, a coalition of companies working to limit carbon emissions based on the goals of the Paris Agreement. [84] [85]

According to Tyson's 2019 Sustainability Report, the company was on track to meet most of its sustainability goals [85] and had decreased water use by 6.8 percent since 2015. [86] Tyson Foods joined the United Nations Global Compact in 2019, and the report also states that the company has goals similar to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. [85]

Environmental groups have blamed Tyson for polluting the Illinois River with poultry litter, though a company spokesperson said the litter belongs to independent contract famers and not to Tyson. To address the problem of poultry litter in watersheds, Tyson and four other poultry companies formed the non-profit organization BMPs in 2004. Tyson says that the organization has helped to move more than 1 million tons of poultry litter out of the Illinois River watershed, redistributing the litter to less nutrient-dense areas. [87] [88]

In 2019, the Environmental Integrity Project identified Tyson as being a major discharger of pollution to waterways in East Texas. The high volumes of blood, urine, feces and feathers discharged into East Texas rivers and lakes contributing to oxygen levels in the water. [89] [90] The Environmental Integrity Project found that the Tyson plant in East Texas violated its Clean Water Act permit a dozen times over 2016–2017. [89]

In 2019, wastewater from a Tyson plant in Alabama polluted rivers and killed approximately 175,000 fish. The state of Alabama sued Tyson over the incident the following year. [91]

Also in 2019, Tyson Foods partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to help farmers reduce nitrogen and erosion across 2 million acres of corn fields in the Midwestern United States and Pennsylvania. [92] [93] The same year, a Tyson building in Springdale, Arkansas, won a LEED silver certification for environmentally friendly design. [94]

As of January 2020, Tyson Foods' land stewardship and sustainable farming program had enrolled approximately 400,000 acres of corn, and planned to support improved environmental practices on 2 million acres of corn by the end of 2020. [95] [10]

In 2020, Tyson Foods partnered with the nonprofit organization Proforest to complete a deforestation risk assessment, which concluded that approximately 94 percent of the company's land footprint is at low risk of being associated with deforestation. To address the remainder found to be at risk, in November the company announced a Forest Protection Standard focused on reducing deforestation risk in supply chains of cattle and beef, soy, palm oil, pulp, paper and packaging. [96] [97]

In 2020, Tyson Foods received a SmartWay Excellence Award from the Environmental Protection Agency, recognizing "top shipping (retailers and manufacturers) and logistics company partners for superior environmental performance". [98] [99]

Workers' rights Edit

According to Celeste Monforton, professor of occupational health at George Washington University, 34 employees were injured at 10 Tyson meatpacking plants during January–September 2015, resulting in one amputation per month on average. Reporting on Monforton's findings in 2016, Buzzfeed News said Tyson Foods "recently launched new programs to improve workplace safety communication, awareness and education". [100]

An Oxfam report issued in 2016 cited anonymous employees who stated they were routinely denied bathroom breaks, leading them to wear adult diapers to work. [101] In 2017, Tyson Foods announced plans to provide regularly scheduled bathroom breaks and training on workers' rights for employees, "give more attention to line speeds at plants", and establish safety councils that involved workers. Additionally, the company announced plans for "hiking wages, publicly sharing results of a third-party audit on worker conditions, increasing benefits to include more vacation and holidays, and expanding existing safety programs". [102] The plans stem from compliance audits started in 2012 and an occupational safety and health pilot program established in 2015, and the announcement was made in conjunction with Oxfam America and United Food and Commercial Workers. [102] By May 2018, hundreds of Tyson Foods workers at 27 plants had participated in the company's Upward Academy education program. [103]

Employment of undocumented immigrants Edit

Tyson Foods was indicted on December 9, 2001, along with six employees on charges that it conspired to smuggle undocumented immigrants across the Mexican border to work in its processing plants. The 36-count indictment, which was unsealed at Federal District Court in Chattanooga, Tennessee, accused Tyson of arranging to transport undocumented workers across the border and helping them to get counterfeit work papers for jobs at 15 Tyson plants. Prosecutors alleged that the conspiracy to import workers dated back to 1994. Of the six managers who were indicted, two accepted plea bargain deals, and one committed suicide a few months after being charged. In March 2003, a federal jury acquitted Tyson and its managers of having hired illegal immigrants as part of a conspiracy. [104] [105] [106] [107]

In October 2006, a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit brought by Tyson employees who allege that Tyson's practice of hiring illegal immigrants depresses wages 10–30%. The suit further contends that the company violated federal racketeering laws by conspiring with National Council of La Raza and League of United Latin American Countries not to question the employment applications of anyone with a Hispanic surname. [108] [109] [110]

Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic Edit

Officials including the sheriff in Black Hawk County, Iowa were critical of Tyson Foods on April 17, 2020, after an outbreak began at a company plant in Waterloo, Iowa. [111] [112] Tyson closed the Waterloo plant on April 22. According to an Associated Press report, the company said the shutdown "would deny a vital market to hog farmers and further disrupt the nation's meat supply". [113] Steve Stouffer, president of the fresh meats division at Tyson Foods, expressed some resistance to universal testing of their workers. "Everybody wants to test meatpacking employees, but nobody is testing the communities around them to show what’s the baseline," Stouffer said, adding "And until we know the baselines, my question has always been: Are we the cause or are we just the victim of our surroundings?" [114] On April 21, Tyson announced the closure of a plant in Center, Texas, which is located in Shelby County, Texas, a rural county with a rate of coronavirus infections about four times higher than the state average. A local physician reported that over half of the county's cases were associated with the Tyson facility. [115] On April 22, Tyson announced the closure of a pork processing plant in Logansport, Indiana. The president of the Indiana Farm Bureau said that the organization is "extremely concerned about the closure of the Tyson pork processing facility. This is a devastating blow to the pork producers who sell hogs to Tyson." [116] On April 23, Tyson announced that a beef processing plant in Wallula, Washington was closing. Tyson executive Steve Stouffer said, "Unfortunately, the closure will mean reduced food supplies and presents problems to farmers who have no place to take their livestock. It’s a complicated situation across the supply chain. [117]

On April 26, John Tyson, chairman of the board, wrote in the New York Times that "The food supply chain is breaking. There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed." [118]

In June 2020, ProPublica reported well after outbreaks had occurred, Tyson did not implement recommended safety measures to protect its workers, such as social distancing, plexiglass barriers and wearing of face masks. [119]

On June 21, the government of China announced that it was suspending imports of chicken from a Tyson factory. The company confirmed that the affected facility was its Berry Street plant in Springdale, Arkansas. [120]

In July 2020, Tyson Foods said it would hire 200 nurses and administrative personnel, and begin administering coronavirus tests at all of its U.S. production facilities, as part of the company's response to the pandemic. [121] [122] [123] [124] [125] [126] [ excessive citations ] Tyson's Chief Executive Noel White said that the company's investment in automation would likely increase in light of the pandemic. [127]

In August 2020, at least 10,261 Tyson workers were confirmed to have COVID-19 (out of a workforce of over 120,000). [123]

In November 2020 a wrongful-death lawsuit previously filed by the family of a Tyson employee, alleging "willful and wanton disregard" for employees' health and safety with regard to COVID-19, was amended with new allegations that a plant manager had organized a betting pool for supervisor and managers to bet on how many employees would be affected with COVID-19. [5] [6]

In November 2020, Tyson suspended multiple top officials and retained the law firm Covington & Burling to conduct an investigation into these allegations. In December 2020, Tyson received the results of the investigation led by former US Attorney General and Covington & Burling partner Eric Holder, and terminated seven of its top managers at the Waterloo, Iowa plant. The Waterloo plant is Tyson's largest pork plant and was the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak that infected more than 1000 Tyson employees, killing six, before spreading into the broader community. Tyson did not publicly disclose the names of those terminated or the detailed findings of the report, but issued a statement saying that those terminated did not represent the company's core values. [128]

Use of antibiotics Edit

In 2007, [ citation needed ] Tyson began labeling and advertising its chicken products as "raised without antibiotics". Tyson competitors Perdue Farms and Sanderson Farms sued, claiming that Tyson's claim violated truth-in-advertising/labeling standards, and Tyson acknowledged using ionophores in chicken feed. [129] Ionophores are used to control coccidiosis, a parasite common in poultry, and the medication is not used in human medicine. A federal judge ordered Tyson to stop making the "raised without antibiotics" claim by May 15, 2008. [129]

In June 2008, USDA inspectors discovered that Tyson had also been using gentamicin, an antibiotic, in unhatched eggs. USDA spokespeople stated that Tyson had not disclosed the use of this antibiotic to the agency, and they issued a letter informing Tyson that the "raised without antibiotics" claim was not truthful. A Tyson spokesperson acknowledged that the company uses the antibiotic and stated that its use is standard industry practice. [129]

The USDA had originally approved the "raised without antibiotics" label, but withdrew their approval after learning that Tyson used ionophores. [130] [131] Tyson and the USDA compromised on rewording Tyson's slogan as "raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans", [130] but the USDA later said that Tyson could not use that label either. [131] In June 2008, Tyson agreed to voluntarily remove its "raised without antibiotics" label in future packaging and advertising. [129]

In 2015, Tyson Foods announced plans to stop feeding chickens with antibiotics used in human medicine. [132] [133] In 2017, the company announced plans to stop using antibiotics on chickens for Tyson-branded breasts, nuggets, and wings. [134]

Animal welfare Edit

Tyson Foods has been embroiled in numerous scandals related to animal abuse and cruelty. [73] [135] In response to undercover revelations of animal abuse, Tyson has responded by arguing that the undercover animal rights activists were at fault for the abuse by not actively preventing it. [73]

In 2006, Tyson completed a study to determine whether controlled atmosphere killing, which uses gas to render chickens unconscious before slaughter, could be a more humane practice than conventional electrical stunning. According to Bill Lovette, Tyson's senior group vice president of poultry and prepared foods, the study found no difference between the humaneness of the two methods. The company plans to ask scientists at the University of Arkansas to initiate a similar study to test these initial results. The research will be led by the newly created Chair in Food Animal Wellbeing at the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences of the University of Arkansas. Tyson has committed $1.5 million to help establish the Chair, which will be involved in overseeing research and classes focused on the humane management and treatment of food animals. [136]

In 2012, Tyson introduced an auditing program known as FarmCheck to check how animals are treated by the company's suppliers. The program was introduced as a trial on certain hog farms, and was the first major program of its kind to apply penalties to producers for noncompliance. [137] By 2020, FarmCheck had expanded to Tyson's poultry suppliers, and its poultry audits were certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization. [138]

In 2014, after an NBC News reported on abuse of piglets at a Tyson pig farm in Oklahoma, Tyson announced new animal care guidelines, such as keeping sows in larger cages, installing video cameras in cages, use pain mitigation strategies in the castration of piglets, and avoiding killing piglets through blunt force. [139] [140] Animal rights activities called on Tyson to make the guidelines a "mandate" rather than a "recommendation." [139]

In 2015, Tyson Foods severed ties with a supplier after Mercy For Animals published videos showing that employees at a Tyson supplier were stabbing, clubbing and stomping on chicken. [141] [142] A 2016 undercover investigation by the animal rights organization Compassion Over Killing showed workers at four separate Tyson processing plants throwing, punching and kicking chickens as well as sticking plastic rods through their beaks. They also wrung birds' necks, ran over them with forklifts and left injured birds in heaping piles to die. [143] A 2017 investigation showed more abuse and cruelty towards chicken. [144] After the 2017 investigation, Tyson responded by saying it would introduce a remote video auditing system to monitor treatment of chickens in its supply chain and hire off-site auditors. [145] The company also started a pilot program for controlled atmosphere stunning, considered to be a more humane method of slaughter. [145] [146] Animal rights activists said the measure did not go far enough. [145] In 2017, Matthew Prescott of the Humane Society of the United States criticized Tyson for failing to implement many of the animal welfare standards that other food suppliers were adopting. [147]

In 2020, Tyson worked with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture to investigate the effects of lighting on broiler chicken welfare. Their research project, "Effect of Variable Light Intensity Program on Broiler Gait Score, Stress and Central Positive Welfare in Commercial Broiler Farm", received a $110,000 grant from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association. [148]

Following a 2020 complaint, the Federal Trade Commission is investigating Tyson for making false and misleading advertising claims regarding the treatment of its chickens. [149]

Food recalls Edit

On January 30, 2019, Tyson Foods announced a recall for over 36,000 pounds of chicken nuggets that were at risk of being contaminated with small pieces of rubber. The recall followed allegations by consumers who submitted complaints to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Tyson identified the contaminated nuggets as those received by Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Utah club store distribution centers. [150] On March 21, 2019, the company issued a recall for 69,000 pounds of chicken strips potentially contaminated with pieces of metal, [151] following six complaints submitted to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, including three alleged oral injuries. An expanded recall for nearly 12 million pounds of chicken strips was issued on May 4, 2019. [152]

On June 7, 2019, Tyson Foods announced a recall for over 190,000 pounds of chicken fritters which potentially contained hard plastic following reports from three consumers. The products were not sold in retail stores but supplied to various food service locations, including schools. [153]

In 2016, Maplevale sued Tyson and other poultry producers for alleged price fixing. Since the original filing, numerous other customers and consumers have filed similar lawsuits, which are consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois. [154] [155] The companies were accused of working together to restrict the supply of chickens and to manipulate chicken prices these activities allegedly started in 2008. [156] [157] [158] Tyson has denied the allegations, with a spokesperson calling them "baseless". [154]

In June 2020, it was announced that Tyson was cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in relation to price fixing and bid rigging in the poultry industry. [159] Tyson was cooperating under a leniency program whereby it would avoid criminal prosecution by providing aid to DOJ investigators. [160] Just prior to the announcement, four poultry industry executives were indicted for conspiracy to engage in price fixing. [159] In October 2020, Pilgrim's Pride agreed to a plea agreement and a settlement of $110 million. [161] In March 2021, Tyson agreed to pay $221.5 million to poultry buyers to settle the price-fixing claims. [162]

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China detains employees of suspect meat seller

Five employees of a company accused of selling expired beef and chicken to McDonald’s, KFC and other restaurants in China were detained by police Wednesday after an official said illegal activity was an organized effort by the supplier.

China’s food safety agency said on its website that its investigators found unspecified illegal activity by Husi Food Co. but gave no confirmation expired meat had been found or other details.

Some of the illegal conduct was an “arrangement organized by the company,” the deputy director of the agency’s Shanghai bureau, Gu Zhenghua, told the official Xinhua News Agency.

Those in criminal detention include Husi’s quality manager, the Shanghai police department said on its microblog account. The one-sentence statement gave no details of possible charges or the employees’ identities.

The scandal surrounding Husi, which is owned by OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois, has alarmed Chinese diners and disrupted operations for fast food chains.

It erupted Sunday when a Shanghai broadcaster, Dragon TV, reported that Husi repackaged old beef and chicken and put new expiration dates on them. It said they were sold to McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants.

Xinhua said the manager of Husi’s quality department, Zhang Hui, told investigators “such meat had been produced under tacit approval of the company’s senior managers.” It said the company “has been conducting the malpractice for years.”

An employee who answered the phone at the food agency office in Shanghai declined to give any additional details.

A woman who answered the phone at Husi’s Shanghai headquarters said the company would not comment until the investigation was completed. She declined to give her name.

Restaurant operators that have withdrawn products made with meat from Husi include McDonald’s Corp., KFC owner Yum Brands Inc., pizza chain Papa John’s International Inc., Starbucks Corp., Burger King Corp. and Dicos, a Taiwanese-owned sandwich shop chain.

Yum, which also owns Pizza Hut, said in a statement Wednesday is was immediately ending “all procurement from OSI China,” including from the plant in question. The company, based in Louisville, Kentucky, noted that OSI is not a major supplier for its restaurants in the country and that it has arranged for alternative suppliers to step in.

“We do not anticipate disruption to KFC restaurants. While there may be some temporary shortages of certain products at Pizza Huts, we expect this to be minimized and short-term,” the company said.

During a conference call Tuesday to discuss its financial results, McDonald’s Corp. CEO Don Thompson said the company felt a “bit deceived” about the plant in question. Thompson noted the company was no longer serving products from that plant.

The scare has also spread to Japan, where McDonald’s said 20 percent of the meat for its chicken nuggets was supplied by Husi.

Product safety is unusually sensitive in China following scandals over the past decade in which infants, hospital patients and others have been killed or sickened by phony or adulterated milk powder, drugs and other goods.

Husi said in a statement earlier this week it was “appalled by the report” and believed it to be an “isolated event.” It promised to cooperate with the investigation and to share the results with the public.

The State Food and Drug Administration’s statement Wednesday said investigators seized 160 tons of raw material and 1,100 tons of finished products from Husi. The agency said earlier its investigation would extend to Husi facilities in Shanghai and five other provinces.

Foreign fast food brands are seen as more reliable than Chinese competitors, though local brands have made big improvements in quality.

KFC, China’s biggest restaurant chain with more than 4,000 outlets and plans to open 700 more this year, was hit hard by a report in December 2013 that some poultry suppliers violated rules on drug use in chickens. Sales plunged and KFC overhauled quality controls, cutting ties with more than 1,000 small poultry suppliers.

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Let's begin with a description of the practices of American food companies in the US, important to Chinese readers since these practices have already been exported to China and exist here. I'll focus here only on meat production, the chickens and hamburgers you buy at KFC and McDonald's. The Johns Hopkins Center and the Arizona State University in the US conducted a joint study a few years ago on drugs, chemicals and other contaminants in the US food chain, in this case dealing especially with poultry - the chicken you buy in the supermarket and at KFC. They found dozens of banned chemical substances in the chicken in supermarkets and fast-food outlets, in addition to bacteria that had become immune to antibiotics. Here is a brief explanation of American best practices in chicken production. This well-documented practice in the following paragraph was originally posted online by an unidentified commenter, but I have been unable to locate the author:

First, antibiotics are fed to chickens to stimulate their growth, then the poisonous arsenic compound Roxarsone, which is a proven carcinogenic, is added to the chickens' feed to make the chicken flesh the right color of pink. But these chickens are bred in overcrowded and filthy factory farms where they experience a great deal of stress which makes their meat tough and not very tasty. So the chickens are fed Tylenol (a painkiller and relaxant), Benadryl (an antihistamine) and Prozac (an anti-depressant) to make them happy. But now that these chickens are happy and sedated, they want to sleep all the time and not eat and not grow fast enough, so the Americans give them high doses of caffeine to keep them awake all night and make them eat.

So, the American "best practice", which the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) fervently encourages China to adopt, consists of this: first, we put the chickens into filthy, overcrowded and stressful conditions, then we drug them until they are numb and don't know they are suffering, then we drug them again to wake them up, then we drug them again to make them eat and grow faster, then we drug them with more toxic chemicals so their skin is the right color, then we drug them again to prevent them from dying from all the other drugs and the diseases that fill their cages.

But it's even better than this. What do you suppose the chickens eat, besides the drugs and caffeine? Well, the capitalist profit maximisation bible preaches that you cannot discard anything that might produce revenue, so American chickens are fed chicken and other animal excrement, ground-up animal parts, bones, feathers, blood, leather, dead cattle, and various diseased animal content. Normally a healthy chicken would die from such a diet, but this is the reason for all the drugs and antibiotics in the first place - to keep the chickens alive long enough to reach the supermarket where we ingest all these drugs that are still present. I will deal with American food safety in much detail in another article, but let's continue to enjoy American chicken a while longer.

On September 16, 2012, Health author Kathy Freston, writing in the Huffington Post, made reference to a New York Times article which detailed that half of all chicken sold in the US was contaminated with fecal bacteria and feces. Freston began with the following observations:

"Millions of Americans are exposing themselves not just to the bacteria from a chicken’s intestinal tract, but to everything else that comes in chicken feces. So the Centers for Disease Control recommends extreme caution when handling raw chicken, which includes meticulously cleaning and sterilizing kitchen surfaces that are exposed to the meat. [Fecal bacteria] will cause most people to suffer cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Some people will spread the disease to their families, while others will experience severe blood and kidney problems which can lead to death. I’ve often wondered why we would want to eat something that is so toxic, so I decided to go to the study’s source and ask Dr. Neal Barnard for an explanation."

Her article then quoted portions of her interview with Dr. Barnard. I'm including here a synopsis of Barnard's comments and some direct quotes. Barnard stated:

"Fecal contamination on chicken meat (in the US) is surprisingly common. Chicken producers are required to inspect only one in every 22,000 carcasses, so consumers really have no way to know what they are buying and eating. If you eat chicken, you are eating chicken feces much of the time. The presence of E. coli (i.e. fecal) bacteria means feces is on or in the meat. We wanted people to understand that when they buy chicken, they are buying, chewing, and swallowing feces in about half the cases. You’re eating dung. Chicken feces may also contain roundworms, hair worms, tapeworms, insect larvae, fecally-excreted drugs and other chemicals, as well as the more normal constituents of feces — bile, undigested food, etc."

When asked by Freston about purchasing organic foods in the US, Barnard replied by saying,

"Consumers might imagine that . "organic" products are safer, [but] our test results indicate these assumptions have no basis. The so-called "organic" brands were tainted with feces, too. Feces on meats occurs in all brands and all stores at surprisingly high levels. If you buy chicken and bring it into your home, you can easily contaminate your hands, knives, cutting boards, and kitchen surfaces and very soon you end up infecting yourself with these persistent germs." Barnard's comment on contamination bears some thought. He is saying that the feces and fecal bacteria on the chicken meat will be naturally spread to the kitchen surfaces and to anything the meat touches, contamination which will not be removed by simple washing, but that to ensure thorough disinfection, anything touching the chicken meat should be at least sterilised with boiling water. Barnard said further that his medical group had been trying for years to help consumers understand that chicken in America was bad, "And if it’s the feces that finally convince people to stop eating it, that’s good."

On being asked how the feces got onto the chicken in the first place, Barnard replied, "Chickens are typically raised in crowded conditions, so it is easy for feces to spread from one bird to the next. In the transport boxes that carry them to the slaughterhouse, they spread feces even more. And in the slaughter line, the intestinal tract is mechanically ripped out of the body. So the chicken dung is splattering around, contaminating the equipment, the workers’ hands, and everything else. And then, right after slaughter, there’s the water bath. The part about the water bath is particularly eye-opening:" He went on to state that after the chickens are eviscerated, they are inserted into a water bath that is ostensibly for washing and cleaning the animals but in fact is designed to permit the birds to absorb water and increase their weight. Note this:

"Chickens are very absorbent animals. When you put them into the water bath to chill them, they gain a little weight. Since chicken is sold by the pound, over a period of time it’s a substantial financial difference to the company. The average broiler is about four pounds. If you can add a quarter of a pound of water, that’s very important to the profit. This "water" that Ms. Foreman was referring to is the chill bath the chickens go into after being eviscerated. It is sometimes referred to as "fecal soup"."

Barnard's observations on the 'fecal soup' do not provide a full appreciation of the problem. Most poultry meat, including that from chickens, is like a sponge and will absorb a surprising amount of liquid. In a Carrefour supermarket in Shanghai I see turkeys that were packed in Michigan in the US, with a label stating the turkey "Contains approximately 18% of a solution to enhance juiciness and flavor". That 18% of 'juiciness and flavor' consists entirely of contaminated water, of the fecal soup, absorbed into the bird's flesh prior to freezing. And it cannot be removed. Freston finished by reiterating that the chickens were placed in water full of feces and that, rather than cleaning the birds, the bath enabled the feces-filled water to be absorbed directly into the flesh of the chickens where it could not be washed away. Barnard responded by stating that is why slaughterhouses will never permit outsiders to see their operations, because in effect it would make you sick to your stomach.

Few people, even in the US, want to believe, or are even able to believe, how real and how serious this situation is. In November of 2016, the USDA issued a warning about washing poultry a warning published the US media in preparation for the cooking of turkeys for Thanksgiving. The reports stated, "Whatever you do, absolutely DO NOT wash" the turkey. The USDA advised that rinsing a turkey "will not get rid of unwanted bacteria ― that is virtually impossible", and that washing poultry will simply increase the likelihood of spreading fecal bacteria everywhere in the kitchen. The advice was to simply take this bird, which has been soaking in a fecal soup, and quickly insert it into the oven, because high heat is the only means of killing the bacteria. You will still be eating the feces embedded in the turkey meat, but now it won't kill you. The USDA further advised to thoroughly clean with soap and hot water anything that touched the bird. This borders on being bizarre, but instead of the US health authorities banning the commercial production of this heavily-contaminated poultry, they are ignoring the big agra farms whose methods are responsible for the diseases, and are simply advising people on how to avoid serious illness from eating this food.

That's just American chicken. Let's take a quick look at the famous American hamburger. Every time you eat an American hamburger, you are eating anabolic steroids, antibiotics and fecal matter. As one writer noted, "You are better off eating a carrot dropped in your toilet than eating American packaged meat." Feedlot cattle are fed shredded packaging, cardboard boxes, cement, and sawdust to put on weight. Cattle that are processed for hamburgers have access to only filthy food and water, and reports claim that until recently, they were fed millions of dead cats and dogs purchased from animal shelters, and that they still eat dead pigs, horses, and poultry. "Cattle are also fed chicken manure and excrement, which may contain tapeworms, Giardia, antibiotic residues, arsenic and heavy metals. Federal inspectors report that cattle that are visibly diseased, infected with measles, tapeworms, and covered with abscesses are routinely slaughtered and processed into meat." According to one study, of all the cows slaughtered for meat in America, more than 25% are worn-out, ready-to-die, dairy cattle, animals most likely to be riddled with diseases, cancers, and antibiotic residues. I have seen reports claiming that McDonald's relies heavily on these old dairy cows because they are cheaper, lower in fat, and their use permits the company to claim "All-American Beef". It gets worse:

In 2013, the US government had to order a recall of more than 8 million kilograms of beef that was contaminated with animal excrement, and not only contaminated but covered with feces, in many cases with "large chunks" of feces still adhering to the meat. This condition is so common, and so serious, that

Physicians from an American medical association petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration to have all supermarkets either (1) label their meat products as "Feces-Free Meat" or else (2) have the supermarkets attach "biohazard labels" to all meat products in American supermarkets.

Nearly half of all chicken products sold in the US, and marketed by national brands, are consistently contaminated with feces, and in 2012, examinations proved that 95% of all chicken breasts sold in US supermarkets were contaminated with fecal bacteria. From all this, food-borne illnesses in the US are at epidemic levels, with between 75 million and 100 million cases each year of contaminated food and illnesses from consumption of animal products. In other words, about one-third of all Americans seek medical attention each year from eating diseased American food.

I think it's worth noting that China has never experienced 25% to 30% of its total population suffering illness from food contamination even one time, much less consistently every year. But, with luck, and with more American food and agriculture companies moving into China, we will soon be able to share these American experiences. In fact, they're already happening. But I have given you only a 'taste', if you'll excuse the expression, of the food quality typical of American companies. In a later article I will address at length the issue of food safety in the US and, after reading that, I promise (a) you will never again want to eat any food product supplied by an American company and (b) your fears about food safety in China will have moderated substantially.

Moving to China, in July of 2014 we had the Jewish-American OSI food-agricultural giant in China exposed for repackaging expired and dirty meat on a massive scale extending for many years, complete with two sets of record books for deceiving the authorities. Company officials tried desperately to block the investigation, refusing entry to the plant by officials of the Shanghai food and drug authority for a long enough time to destroy evidence. Media reports said the authorities had to seize and destroy millions of kilograms of diseased and dirty meat, in a scandal that would eventually cover all of China. The Shanghai FDA also said Husi produced more than 5,000 crates of McDonald's Chicken McNuggets, pork patties and beef steaks that were all expired and moldy. The garbage was primarily sold in China, the prime beneficiaries being of course other American firms - KFC, McDonald's, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Papa Johns, Dicos, 7-Eleven and more.

These firms were selling their culinary delights to infatuated Chinese who stubbornly refuse to believe that American food quality is lower than China's. Even more depressingly, OSI was listed by Shanghai's government as a "food safety model company".

It was a Shanghai Dragon TV report that collected and aired all the information, showing the staff at Shanghai Husi reprocessing meat that was rancid and had long since passed its expiry date, and claimed the firm also forged the production dates of its meat products. The TV video showed Husi workers picking up meat and hamburger patties from the floor and inserting them back into the processing machinery, and another worker handling expired beef and calling it "stinky". The TV footage also showed employees mixing expired and fresh meat in new packaging, and were overheard saying that if their clients knew what they were doing, the firm would lose its contracts. This was not a small thing since Husi was supplying so many thousands of US-branded restaurants. The Chinese health authorities assigned nearly 900 investigators to inspect the company's many sites before all the evidence could be destroyed. In Shanghai, many executives were arrested and the entire operations of OSI and Husi were shut down in China and not permitted to re-open. OSI claimed it had lost nearly $1 billion, but my guess is they still profited handsomely while their adventure lasted.

A spokesman for Yum Brands, the owners of KFC and Pizza Hut, said they were "shocked" that OSI and Husi had "illegal and dishonest behavior organized by management", and a spokesman for McDonald's said the practices were "completely unacceptable to McDonald's". I think we should talk about this. First, neither KFC nor McDonald's are exactly strangers to their own 'illegal and dishonest behavior organized by management', so I doubt anyone was really very shocked, and in my view the only 'unacceptable' part was getting caught. And it wasn't only Husi picking meat off the floor and selling it to customers both KFC and McDonald's have been often accused of the same, and worse. But it goes deeper. For my part, I am a simple consumer and claim no particular expertise in meat or meat products, but I have no trouble discerning the difference between meat that is fresh and that which is nearing or past its expiry date. And I certainly have no trouble identifying meat that is moldy or rotting, or that smells. The management and staff of KFC, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, are dealing with meat shipments 365 days a year, handling, washing and cooking all that meat, and can identify bad product instantly. To claim otherwise is to lie. So, while I can't prove my claim, I have no doubt in my own mind that all these American fast-food restaurants knew precisely what they were selling.

Then, as always, comes the media spin. After having to destroy millions of kilograms of stale or rotten meat, a Husi company executive said, "Our company management believes this to be an isolated event." Or, even better, Husi company manager Yang Liqun, told Xinhua News Agency that "Husi has a strict quality control system". But as one newspaper reported, "a preliminary investigation by the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration showed . that what had been going on at Shanghai Husi was organized and planned, rather than based on individuals’ discretion." It had also been occurring for a long time. Several years prior, a former Husi employee exposed the company's supplying expired meat to all the American fast-food chains in China, but nobody cared even when he posted his revelations on the Internet. Rather than being apologetic, the company was defiant. After all the details of this enormous scandal were made public, Shanghai Husi placed a statement in Chinese on the OSI China website saying that for the Shanghai government "to define [our company's products] as 'questionable' . is totally without factual, scientific or legal foundation." Husi also claimed in the media to be cooperating with the government's investigation, while the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration was condemning them and urging "more cooperation".

One reason this is important is that these American practices are being imported into China and forced upon Chinese producers. In 2013, it was discovered that a major chicken supplier in Henan named Doyoo Group from Zhengzhou had been selling sick, diseased, and dead chickens to KFC and McDonald's. Media reports said "chickens were being raised in sealed enclosures which were lit 24 hours a day at a constant temperature of about 36 C to maximize their growth, which caused the birds to become sick, with many dying prematurely. According to media reports, an official with Doyoo Group and employees of its suppliers said many chickens raised on the group's farms had to be slaughtered ahead of schedule after they became sick, with all the sick ones supplied to fast-food restaurants like KFC and McDonald's.

A chicken farmer in Hebi surnamed Yang said that of 17,000 chickens, 10,000 had died after 30 days and the remaining 7,000 were so sick they were unable to eat, but when he contacted Doyoo to express his concern, he was ordered to send the birds for slaughter and they were later sold." Another employee at another Doyoo farm said they raised 43,000 chickens but about 15,000 died at around 30 days and the remainder were again too sick to be fed, so they were also all slaughtered and sold. Farmers claimed Doyoo executives asked them to report sick and dead chickens "so the chickens could be slaughtered without quarantine inspection", meaning a deliberate attempt to hide the evidence from government health authorities, and claiming this occurred repeatedly. Media reports said "there were no facilities to properly handle dead or sick chickens at several farms that supply birds to the company. Instead, each of the farms was equipped with a freezing room to store dead chickens". And, in an act of defiance, the government website quoted an unnamed official with Doyoo Group as saying that "as long as the chickens are alive, they are not sick."

According to a media report, "The owner of the farm in Gaomi told CCTV that the chickens have always been in inferior health because they have to reach full growth in about 40 days.”Their hearts, as small as the tip of the little finger, wear out from the speed," he said. The chickens are fed large doses of antibiotics all the time, the manager said, because cutting it off would kill them immediately." The CCTV report also said that Liuhe Group and its companies "faked feeding logs for chicken farms and issued quarantine qualifications without doing any tests". In other words, they produced forged and fraudulent quarantine certificates. CCTV also reported that the Yum warehousing and distribution system was replete with not only practical issues but with fraud and illegalities as well - missing inspection information, "non-standard" quarantine certificates, and more. And then we have the lies. According to the China Daily, Sam Su, Chairman and CEO of Yum China denied that hormones were used in any of its chicken farms, and that the antibiotics scandal was just "an isolated incident". KFC issued a further statement that not only drew ridicule but that should have been punished by a public flogging, attempting to escape responsibility by stating, "If we find any illegal conduct by the suppliers, we will definitely deal with it seriously".

•More American Food Products

US companies constantly send banned genetically-modified foods to China. This occurs with pharmaceuticals, meat, fruit, vegetables, all kinds of consumables, creating serious health and safety issues. Often, entire shipments of goods are either returned or destroyed. Shipments of US beef are frequently returned because they contain prohibited matter from the brains and spinal columns of animals. These occasions are not accidents - the US producers know what they're packing. Under political pressure from the large food corporations, the US government permits the bulk of the dangerous animal tissue to remain in the food supply and be exported to China, while denying this is the case. But during regular inspections, the Chinese authorities often found these prohibited animal tissues in US meat exports, resulting in food producers both in the US and in 12 European facilities having their licenses revoked. The Chinese inspection authorities regularly discovered prohibited synthetic hormones and an excessive presence of antibiotics and antibiotic residues, in meat from what would qualify as genetically-produced animals.

The practice by American companies of repeatedly sending banned meat products to China, those containing animal brain and spinal column tissue responsible for the spread of 'mad cow' disease, and those containing meats from GM animals and a wide variety of banned chemicals, was so widespread that it finally resulted in Chinese authorities permanently banning all beef and beef products from the US. The total ban was implemented in 2003 and is only now under discussion for removal, having cost the Americans billions of dollars, and they still haven't learned anything. The Chinese authorities finally offered to discuss removal of the ban on American beef, but the Americans are demanding the right to continue shipping to China the same product content that caused the ban in the first place. Russia claimed to have had the identical experience with American meat producers, and recently, in frustration, banned all meat imports from the US - as China did. China recently ordered the destruction of a shipment of thousands of US oysters that were contaminated by bacteria and which had already caused illnesses in other Asian countries.

China also had to repeatedly cancel shipments of US fruits and other agricultural products contaminated by listeria, fecal coliform or other bacteria, items which had already caused many deaths and illnesses in the US. The banned additive clenbuterol, commonly known as 'lean meat powder', has repeatedly been found in many shipments containing thousands of tonnes of imported pork products from the US. Shipments of frozen ham from the US have been found to contain clenbuterol and further contaminated with mildew. None of these shipments are accidents. The Americans are fully aware of China's food laws, and even more fully aware of what they are packing. As always, the Western media remain dead silent on these issues, ensuring Americans remain ignorant of the facts.

The US media still constantly vilify China for the discovery ten years ago of melamine in powdered milk, but were silent when only recently China had to destroy almost 1,000 tonnes of substandard imported Western milk products - including Nestlé products - with 70% of these being baby formulas. Here is a (very) brief list of Western firms and their substandard products either made by them in China, or imported into the country.

Diseased meat at Wal-Mart. Chlorine, insecticides and pesticides in Coca-Cola - plus carcinogens at 14 times the level in the US, mercury in Sprite, insect body parts and insect eggs in Cadbury chocolate, chemical chickens, dead chickens, re-used cooking oil and substandard hygiene at KFC. Pink Slime, trash beef scrapings and ammonium hydroxide in McDonald's hamburgers, the banned carcinogenic dye Sudan I in KFC and Heinz products. Transgenic materials, excessive iodine and heavy metal contamination in Nestlé baby foods, toxic contaminants including arsenic, lead and cadmium, in various Western-branded baby foods. Excessive vitamin B2 in Heinz baby milk substandard Western cheeses (Kraft), mislabeled and consisting in large part of wood cellulose noodles, biscuits and baby formulas that had expired prior to shipping and contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria and sulfur dioxide baby formula contaminated with ethyl vanillin and other flavoring additives in attempts to induce babies to develop a taste for their brand and reject others. Free formaldehyde in Lux soap and Dove Shampoo, harmful mineral oil and formaldehyde in Johnson’s baby products, as well as in Unilever and P & G products, SK-II cosmetics, carcinogens in Colgate toothpaste. Samsonite "Luxury Tokyo Chic" luggage handles with high levels of compounds known to cause cancer and birth defects.

American ice cream brands including Dairy Queen, ColdStone, and Baskin-Robbins have been found to contain alarming levels of bacteria, with DQ's Blizzard series setting a new record with 10 times the permitted safety limit. Dairy Queen was forced to close its stores for decontamination, but the media claim was that the closures were merely "to do some checks", and that the test results of 10 times the permitted level of bacteria "didn't mean Dairy Queen has quality problems". This claim tied for a first-place award with Coca-Cola's declaration that its chlorine and pesticides were perfectly safe to drink, and with Starbucks assertion that the toilet water was responsible for its unique coffee flavor. One hour after CCTV exposed illegal operations in its Beijing branches, McDonald's vowed to discontinue using the controversial ground beef filler known as "pink slime", which consists of garbage beef scrapings containing ammonium hydroxide, the chemical being necessary to kill the bacteria in the slime. In a rather deceptive twist of words, the Western media sanitised the affair by categorising the garbage filler as "beef trimmings", which has a very different meaning to any Westerner. McDonald's China said it would launch "an immediate and serious investigation" into the case. To what end? McDonald's would hardly be unaware of the ingredients it puts into its own products. The choice of words by both the company and the media were meant to trivialise and dismiss China's claims, implying that someone made a one-off mistake.

Danone is almost as famous in China as Wal-Mart for violating food safety rules, having been charged more than 20 times in the past few years, in two recent events suffering the destruction of more than 200 tonnes of "luxury" water brands for bacterial or chemical contamination. Moreover, Danone's Evian and Volvic brands of "luxury" natural mineral water have proven to be neither natural nor mineral, but simply plain water, and luxurious only in the range of pollutants contained - lead, arsenic, nitrite, free chlorine, cyanide, coliform bacteria, mold and excessive levels of many other bacteria. Recently, Danone's Dumex baby milk powder was declared contaminated with melamine, and that infants in several countries had fallen ill. Danone denied the claims but the jury is still out on this one. In another category, IKEA ceased the sale of various cakes imported into China from Sweden, after authorities discovered them to have high levels of coliform bacteria, in other words, fecal bacteria - feces. Not surprisingly, IKEA executives claimed they "conducted tests" on the same batch of cakes but did not find bacteria.

North American food production was not always as described above, but when Jewish investment bankers like Goldman Sachs and firms like Blackstone, the Carlyle Group, the hedge funds and similar, became involved with American MNCs in big agriculture, their greed and determination to maximise profits at all costs, inevitably led us to where we are today. The result is that small farms and production facilities disappeared and the food chain became dominated by Big Agra who established what are called "factory farms", those places where poultry are raised in small cages and fed a combination of excrement and medications and where larger animals are housed in larger cages and also fed excrement and medications. And that is why 25% to 35% of all Americans become ill every year from food-borne diseases, this not limited to meats but including every variety of American vegetables, fruits and nuts. Every year, the US experiences large recalls, sometimes covering the entire nation, of vegetables that are contaminated with the same E. coli, the same fecal bacteria, as are American meats.

Prior to the arrival of the Americans and the Jewish investment bankers in China, agriculture was small-scale and these so-called factory farms did not exist, with animals still being essentially free-range, not subjected to stress and not fed unhealthy food or drugs and chemicals. The arrival of the Americans changed all that, exemplified by Husi and OSI as I noted earlier. American big agra companies came to China bringing their vaunted "best practices" with them, and are slowly transforming China's agricultural landscape for the worse. American restaurants and fast-food outlets like KFC, McDonald's, Starbucks, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Wal-Mart will typically purchase only from these factory farms because that is where the prices are lowest, virtually forcing any Chinese firms to follow the pattern if they want to also become a supplier. The Americans have an expertly-crafted PR and marketing program that presents an entirely false picture of high standards and health safety when the blunt truth is that they are almost inevitably at the bottom of the list by all important measures, and this applies as much to companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi as to OSI, KFC and McDonald's.

There is another factor for Chinese to consider, that of food products imported from the US. If you are Chinese, do you believe that US food companies are saving all their feces-covered meat and their fruits and vegetables contaminated with fecal bacteria to sell only to Americans, while they save all their clean food for shipment to China? You know that isn't happening. At best, the food shipped to China is the same as that consumed in the US, and at worst is quite a lot worse, which is why the Chinese health authorities seize and destroy so many American food shipments.

Therefore, the first rule is to never purchase any foods originating in the US. American chicken and chicken products are the worst, followed closely by all other meats, then followed closely again by fruits and vegetables. This rule includes both fresh and packaged foods. The second rule is to never purchase or eat either fresh or packaged meats produced by an American firm in China, since they inevitably will be sourced from one of the factory farms to precisely the same standards of health and safety as described in the opening paragraphs above. This means not only American-branded meats in the supermarkets, but also to avoid altogether the American fast-food restaurants and supermarkets since they will almost always source their food from American or other factory farms and, as you have seen, will do so entirely without regard to either public health or safety.

Too many Chinese are too eager to believe that foreign food standards, especially American food standards, are much superior to those in China and that American foods are healthier and safer than those produced in China. They are not. When you purchase any American meat or vegetable products or go to KFC and McDonald's, you are, more than half of the time, "buying, chewing, and swallowing feces".

•Crabs That Glow in the Dark

Most readers will recall the nuclear reactor meltdown at Fukushima in Japan in 2011. Fukushima has not gone away, but Americans are no longer aware of it because it has been totally censored in the US, covered with a thick blanket of media silence. Few people are aware that since the date of the meltdown those reactors have been discharging hundreds of tonnes of intensely radioactive nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean every day, and that the ocean currents have long since carried that radiation across the Pacific to pollute the entire West Coast of North America, particularly the US portions. There have been repeated reports of massive seafood die-offs and other problems from the Southern US, but these seem to never reach the media. With Japan, fishermen are "discouraged" from fishing anywhere on the Eastern side of Japan because virtually the entire Northern Pacific has been flooded with nuclear radiation. Japanese authorities refuse to discuss the matter, and the American Jewish media have imposed a news embargo on the topic.

I mention this for two reasons. One is that all seafood originating in the Pacific East of Japan should be banned in all countries, and consumers in every nation should exercise extreme caution in purchasing any Japanese seafood. The other reason is that (in China) the Americans are heavily promoting their Alaska King Crab and other seafood that originate in this same part of the Northern Pacific and that are almost certainly contaminated with radiation. This is one of the reasons for the publication ban if the full details of Fukushima were widely known, the seafood industry on the US' entire West Coast would most likely collapse. The ban is therefore to protect Big Agra at the expense of the public. Given the circumstances of Fukushima's continued spewing of radioactive waste after five years, and the American ban on publicity and disclosure of evidence, all seafood from the West Coast (Pacific) of the US should be shunned. Canadian lobster is fine because it originates in the Atlantic Ocean and cannot be exposed.

This is a serious matter because both the Japanese and the Americans have been shipping this seafood into China, through the Kwai Chung container terminal in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong health authorities have for years allowed the imports of heavily-contaminated seafood into the city, apparently due to "deficiencies in safety controls" but in fact due to the political influence these large international agra firms have over the Hong Kong government. The South China Morning Post said the government relied on food importers taking the initiative on food safety. But of course, the importers do nothing. There was apparently only one instance where ten boxes of radioactive carrots were intercepted, and HK authorities admitted they had "no idea" if banned radioactive food were being sold in Hong Kong or being re-exported to the Mainland.

Canada is also guilty in this, for all the same reasons. Recently there were news reports of Canadian salmon and other marine life exhibiting open sores, cankers, and all the signs of radiation poisoning. The Canadian government's response was to cease all testing and blithely claim there was nothing wrong and nothing to see, after which Canada's Jewish-owned media imposed another news blackout and no further information has been available since.

Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai's Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He can be contacted at: [email protected].

Larry Romanoff is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney's new COVID-19 anthology '' When China Sneezes '' .

22. Chipotle’s Food Safety & Better Burger Fiasco

Between July 2015 and April 2016, Chipotle had six (6) food safety scares, including cases of norovirus, E. coli, and salmonella across the country from Seattle to Boston. The news of the breaches in food safety did a number on the company’s stock performance, resulting in a loss of more than $11 billion in market capitalization.

In response to the food safety scares, the company did not explain (quickly enough) the steps it was taking to correct the issue, and closed all of its stores for a half day to have a “town hall” meeting to discuss changes that would be rolled out at all stores. Steve Ells then made an appearance on the Today show on NBC apologizing and saying Chipotle would become the “safest place to eat” – a tough claim to back up for a 2,000+ unit chain.

Not long after the food safety scandals, in late March 2016, Chipotle issued a trademark application for “Better Burger” – a name that is commonly used to describe a whole category of restaurants. The timing of the announcement was suspicious and could be seen as an attempt to distract away from the negative attention the brand had been receiving.

To add to the smoke and mirrors, the company then released its “A Love Story” video in July 2016, which – on the surface – seemed like a cute tale of young love, but was really just a (not-so) veiled attack of its competitors. Rather than take responsibility for its actions and make efforts to correct the food safety (and other) blunders, the company lashed out at its “big guy” competitors and tried to make them seem like the villain.

  • More than 200 Chipotle customers were affected by the different food safety cases
  • At the time, Chipotle’s loss in market capitalization was larger than the combined value of the two largest publicly traded casual dining companies (Darden and Brinker, with market capitalizations of $8.47 billion and $2.65 billion, respectively)
  • The “A Love Story” video reached more than six million views on YouTube within just three weeks of being released

Key Takeaways on Restaurant Crisis Communications

What can you do to prevent ending up like one of the companies discussed here?

Be Ready: Eric Holm probably never dreamed he’d be thrust into the national spotlight by one of his line-level employees. Don’t be caught in a situation like Golden Corral and others did. Create a plan now, and implement it when the time comes.

Respond — FAST: Guests and journalists are an impatient bunch. Speak on your own behalf or they’ll find someone else to do it for you—and not very favorably.

Nix the “No Comment:” Buy time instead work with a pro to tackle the tough issues. But never say “no comment.” When you do, the media knows you’re running scared. To them, it’s an admission of guilt.

Ask for Help: Seriously, defer to the pros. It takes decades to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it. Invest in managing your crisis. It will be the best money you ever spent.

Have a Plan: We’re not talking about fleeing the country, although it’s tempting. Institute a Crisis Communication Plan — now, while things are calm. It doesn’t need to be pages long even a one-page blueprint will suffice. You need a clear internal policy that employees can follow when the yucky stuff hits the fan. We’re talking phone numbers, contact names, agreed-upon procedures. Make sure all of your employees know the plan so you can, at the very least, prevent an immediate downward spiral.

Monitor your reputation: Invest in a reputation monitoring service. Social applications and smartphones allow people to spew both good and bad. Since technology operates at warp speed, you need to know what’s being said about your brand in real-time. You could be doing something to alienate clientele without even knowing it. Not having a monitoring service is the equivalent of a modern military without radar. You’re blind, vulnerable and almost always blindsided by an attack. It’s ill-advised.

It’s Not about IF, but WHEN: Crisis Communication is anything but boring. For a long time, the subject conjured images of stodgy books and lectures — the ramblings of worrywarts. But, now, consider just how fast a decades-old brand can unravel it’s terrifying! Technology invites any disgruntled employee or customer to cause serious damage with one post or video. The digital era has intensified the stakes and complexity of crisis communications. You must have a plan. It’s not about IF you’ll have a crisis, but WHEN. Crisis management training is a requirement for the modern restaurant CEO.

Watch the video: Yum Brands Big Split From China. Squawk Box. CNBC (November 2021).