A U.S. meat supplier is likely to appeal a Chinese court’s verdict that its local division sold expired chicken and beef to fast food restaurants, including McDonald’s and KFC in the country, the company said Monday. The Illinois-based OSI Group LLC.’s two Chinese subsidiaries were fined and 10 employees were sentenced by the court as part of the verdict.
OSI called the Shanghai court’s decision an "unjust verdict" in a statement. The court had ruled that the two Chinese subsidiaries -- Shanghai Husi Foods Ltd. and Hebei Husi Foods Ltd. -- intentionally distributed disqualified products, Bloomberg reported.
The two divisions were fined 1.2 million yuan ($182,000) each while OSI China general manager, Yang Liqun, was sentenced to three years in jail, along with a 100,000 yuan ($15,195) fine. The court also ordered the deportation of Yang, who is an Australian citizen.
The scandal came to light in 2014 after Shanghai’s Dragon TV reported that OSI's subsidiaries repackaged and sold expired meat. The operations at chains, including Burger King and Starbucks, were affected following the exposé.
"After an actual investigation was completed, all authorities involved have recognized that this case has never been about food safety," OSI said in the statement. "The verdict is inconsistent with the facts and evidence that were presented in the court proceedings."
The company added that it is "forced to consider an appeal through all legal channels," and is also contemplating legal action against Dragon TV.
Food safety-related issues have been a concern in China while several food products in the world’s second largest economy have been adulterated as they have reportedly sickened or killed infants and hospital patients.