American fast-food chain Burger King has been exposed for using expired food materials to make hamburgers in China, the country's annual consumer rights show said on Thursday.
Several Burger King's stores in Nanchang, east China's Jiangxi Province replaced the expiration label on stale bread and later served the old bread to customers, the show reported.
But their deception did not end with the bread; the food outlets also served meat and chicken nuggets to customers long after they should have been discarded.
An employee said they would change the label themselves. "We change the label directly and the boss would ask you to change it," the employee said. According to another employee, the practice continued even in the summer when food spoils easily because of the heat.
He said the alarm light would turn red and flash when cooked unsold chicken nuggets have been sitting for over half an hour. Per food handling rules, that food should be discarded, but the employees would simply press the button to make the light turn back to green, restarting the clock.
"The headquarters knows about it," said a store manager, explaining that their headquarter supervisors also started their careers from low-level jobs in the company.
The investigative reporters also discovered that the burger stores failed to follow the company's prescribed operating standards and procedures. An employee said they always cut down on ingredients, such as putting fewer cheese slices and tomatoes into burgers, because his "boss is cheap."
A lot of Nanchang customers also complained on a food delivery platform that Burger King has always sold stale food, and some of them have even suffered from diarrhea.
After the show aired, Burger King China apologized in Chinese on popular Chinese social media platform Weibo and said a working group has been set up to investigate those stores involved, which business has been suspended.