SHANGHAI, July 1, 2015:

US-based meat supplier OSI Group has lost around six billion yuan (RM3.69 billion) since a food safety scandal in China last summer, a senior China-based executive for the firm told the official Xinhua news agency.

The report, published yesterday, underlines how severe the impact of food safety scares can be in China, which has seen a series of stomach churning scandals from decades old meat to milk tainted with industrial chemical melamine which led to the deaths of at least six infants.

OSI Group said in January it had lost “hundreds of millions of dollars” in lost revenue in China since an undercover local media report alleged to show workers at its Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd plant using out-of-date meat and doctoring production dates.

Operations at Shanghai Husi, which supplied meat to McDonald’s Corp and Yum Brands Inc, were suspended following the reports.

Local authorities launched an investigation into the matter and OSI’s chief executive said he was appalled over missteps at the plant.

OSI China’s vice president Lü Yong told Xinhua yesterday the firm had suffered the loss since the scandal last July and that many factories were still suspended

“However, our faith in the Chinese market has not changed. We will not give up on the Chinese market nor will we withdraw from it,” he said at another OSI plant in central Henan province.

“We have invested more than US$500 million (RM1.88 billion) in China in recent five years, and we believe we can overcome the difficulties.”

US and China-based spokespeople for OSI declined to confirm or deny the six billion yuan figure.

“Although losses have been considerable due to the event, we do not have a ‘running total’ that can be confirmed,” US-based spokeswoman Alison Kovaleski said in an email.

OSI is working with Chinese authorities, who are yet to publish the final report on the matter.

In January, OSI Group criticised the handling of the investigation into Shanghai Husi by a food regulator, a rare act in China where firms are usually careful not to openly challenge the authorities.

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