Smile: you’re on camera; McDonald’s, Carrefour sorry for food violations in China

Staff at McDonald’s and Carrefour outlets in China were caught on camera selling expired chicken products and meat that fell on the ground.

The report by China Central Television offered no evidence of widespread problems with the China operations at either company. But their quick apologies highlight the pressures foreign companies can face in China, as well as rising food-safety worries there.

CCTV reported late Thursday that a Beijing branch of McDonald’s sold chicken wings an hour and 24 minutes after they had been left on a warming tray, compared with the 30-minute limit that the store sets. The report also said outlet personnel cooked and sold beef that had fallen on the outlet’s kitchen floor.

China’s Food and Drug Administration said late Friday that it sent health investigators to the McDonald’s outlet featured in CCTV’s report and ordered the company to act in accordance with food-safety laws and to boost employee food-safety awareness. The incident should be a warning to all McDonald’s outlets, it said.

The network also said a Carrefour outlet in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, in central Henan province, sold expired chicken and labeled regular chicken as more the expensive free-range variety.

CCTV’s report came as part of an annual broadcast feature marking World Consumer-Rights Day on March 15, or what is known in China as "315." Analysts say that China has historically used the day as an educational tool to give Chinese consumers more information on the products they use and as an outlet for their complaints.