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Chinese authorities detain five in scandal surrounding expired meat

SHANGHAI -- Chinese police on Wednesday detained five people from a unit of U.S. food supplier OSI Group, a statement said, in a case involving expired meat sold to fast food giants including McDonald's and KFC.

The Shanghai Public Security Bureau said the five included the company officials responsible. It said a quality manager was among them but did not name the five.

Shanghai authorities on Sunday shut an OSI plant for mixing out-of-date meat with fresh product, re-labeling expired goods and other quality problems, following an investigative report by a local television station.

Police acting “according to the law” detained the five from the Shanghai Husi Food Co., the statement said, referring to the OSI subsidiary which operated the factory.

The case has sparked calls for stronger regulation in a country which has seen repeated scandals over food and product safety.

The factory's other customers in China included restaurant operator Yum's Pizza Hut brand, coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King, 7-Eleven convenience stores and Papa John's Pizza, according to separate statements from the companies.

Outside mainland China, McDonald's Japan has confirmed it sourced about 20 percent of its McNuggets from the Shanghai factory.

Japan's huge Family Mart convenience store chain has also stopped selling chicken nuggets made at the plant, and its president apologized to customers on Wednesday for the “extremely regrettable” incident.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government's top spokesman, said Tokyo had banned “any food imports that were processed by the company in question.”

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