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'Super growth' chickens enter China's fast food restaurants - state media

posted 18 Dec 2012, 08:14 by Mpelembe   [ updated 18 Dec 2012, 08:16 ]

Chickens raised on high quantities of hormones are being supplied to some of China's fast food restaurants, state media reports.

WEIFANG CITY, SHANDONG PROVINCE, CHINA (DECEMBER 18, 2012)  (CCTV) - Chickens allegedly raised on large quantities of hormones and other drugs banned by China'sFood and Drug Administration, have been supplied to fast-food restaurants, Chinese state television CCTV reported on Tuesday (December 18).

According to CCTV, in addition to hormones, the chickens had also been fed a variety of antibiotics and anti-viral drugs to counteract the unsanitary conditions of their cages.

In a CCTV interview, Mr. Zhang, an owner of a chicken farm in Weifang City, Shandong Province, described the high rate of growth his chickens undergo within a month of hatching.

"Within 40 days they may weigh up to 3.5 or 3 kilogrammes. On average they can weigh up 2.5 kilogrammes. Just look, they (start off) as such little things," he said.

During the CCTV interview, Zhang said the extremely quick weight gain induced by the hormones could easily kill the animals.

"The chicken's heart is too small to support the extreme weight gain," Zhang added.

The CCTV report alleged the chickens were supplied to restaurants such as KFC and McDonalds without any kind of quality checks.

Fast food giant KFC's Chinese subsidiary pledged on Tuesday to work with authorities in investigating the claims that its chicken suppliers had injected anti-viral drugs and growth hormones in its poultry.

KFC said it would punish its chicken suppliers harshly if they were found to have flouted the law.

McDonald's said in its official microblog that its chicken and raw materials passed through independent, third-party laboratory tests and said its chicken products complied with 'stringent food quality standards'.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration is conducting tests in the poultry that has been supplied to a logistics centre in Shanghai of the KFC parent company, Yum Brands Inc, according to state news agency Xinhua.

A Yum Brands spokesman dismissed as "untrue" media reports in late November that the supplier of one percent of KFC's chicken in China was giving its birds feed containing toxic additives

China has struggled to rein in health violations in the unruly and vast food sector despite harsh punishments and repeated vows to deal with the problem.

The country is notorious for its food safety woes, with regular news reports of fake cooking oil, tainted milk and even watermelons that explode from absorbing too much fertiliser.