OSI Group, the parent company of China’s Husi Food Co., is considering appealing a verdict in a food safety case in which 10 employees were sentenced to time in prison and the company was fined. The company is further considering filing a suit against Dragon TV for allegedly making false accusations in reports that had an influence on the jury.
The case dates back to July 2014, when Husi Food Co. workers were accused of taking outdated poultry and beef, repackaging it with false expiration dates printed, and selling it to a number of restaurant chains in China and Japan, including McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Dico’s. The story, which OSI Group says was sensationalized, was first shared by Dragon TV.
The verdict was reached in the Jiading District People’s Court in Shanghai. According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, the company was fined nearly $365,000.
“After seventeen months of legal proceedings, detainment of Husi employees for as long as seventeen months, a harmful smear campaign driven by state‐owned media, as well as the denial of entry of press and senior OSI leaders to all court proceedings, the court of jurisdiction has reached an unjust verdict. We have made every effort to follow firm instructions to silently cooperate on the advice it would lead to a fair conclusion. However, we can no longer accept injustices against our people and our reputation,” OSI Group said in a statement released on February 1.
“Sensationalized media reports from Dragon TV led to a raid on the Shanghai Husi plant in July 2014. Dragon TV made false and incomplete accusations that ignored facts and Chinese law. After an actual investigation was completed, all authorities involved have recognized that this case has never been about food safety. The distortion of facts and evidence by Dragon TV and the general media clearly influenced the verdict released today.
“The verdict is inconsistent with the facts and evidence that were presented in the court proceedings. As such, OSI is forced to consider an appeal through all legal channels in order to eventually be granted a just, evidence‐based verdict as merited by the facts of the case. Additionally, OSI will consider pursuing a suit against Dragon TV for its role in harming the reputation and business operations of the company through intentional falsification of press reports.
“OSI has been doing business in China for more than 25 years and maintains the highest standard of food safety in the industry. We will continue to do so in our current operations, as well as, seek a reexamination of the facts in the Shanghai and Hebei Husi Foods case.”