According to a report at Caijing.com.cn, China Central Television (CCTV), which in the past has exposed a number of food safety issues in China, reported over the weekend that sample ice cubes take from restaurant chains Yum! Brands Inc.’s (YUM) KFC stores and Chinese chain The Kungfu found bacteria colonies 19 times larger than allowed by China’s national standards and 12 times the level permitted in toilet water. The ice cubes at McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) stores also exceeded allowable levels of bacteria, but were not dirtier than toilet water. That’s a relief.
A KFC blog post at China’s Sina Weibo offers an apology for the problem:
We are sorry about this. Our quality department has inspected the restaurant and urged the staff to immediately clean and sterilize the ice-makers and other equipment strictly in accordance with our standards.
Neither McDonald’s nor Kungfu offered an apology for the dirty water.
KFC stores in China have been hit hard by reports of tainted chicken found in the company’s stores and an outbreak of a new variety of bird flu. McDonald’s, which reported earnings yesterday, said sales in its region that includes China fell by 0.3% last quarter. Filthy ice cubes will not help sales this quarter either.