A 2014 food safety scandal in China did major damage to the reputations of fast food giants McDonald's and KFC — and now, those involved have been sentenced to jail time. According to Reuters, a Chinese court has fined the China-based arm of food supplier OSI Group 2.4 million yuan (nearly $365,000) and handed down prison sentences of up to three years for ten employees who were involved in selling expired meat to restaurants.
In mid-2014 a Chinese news channel found that Shanghai Husi Food Co., Ltd. — which is owned by Aurora, Ill.-based OSI Group — was repackaging old meat for sale, labeling the packages with new expiration dates. In some cases, the meat was reportedly up to a year past its expiry date.
While KFC and Pizza Hut parent company Yum Brands pledged to sever ties with OSI, McDonald's pledged to stick with the supplier; according to a previous report from the Wall Street Journal, the U.S.-based company has been supplying McDonald's stateside since back in the 1950s when it was a mom-and-pop operation. The expired meat scandal also affected other U.S.-based chains including Starbucks, Papa John's, and Burger King.
According to Reuters, OSI has declared the verdict "unjust" and said it will appeal the court's decision. According to internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal, the company claims "a disgruntled former employee and two journalists staged the [TV news] report." Following the tainted meat scandal, Yum Brands split off its Chinese division into a separate company in an attempt to get its business back on track.