The apologies from Yum -- the parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut chains -- and McDonald's came Sunday, before reports surfaced Tuesday that Starbucks, Burger King, Papa John's and IKEA locations in China also bought meat from a poultry firm, which was shut down Sunday for alleged food safety violations.
The reports came in a widening scandal, reported in Chinese media, involving food supplier Shanghai Husi Food Co. Ltd., which was closed by authorities after a television investigation showed expired meat, and meat dropped on the factory floor, used in its deliveries to restaurants.
McDonald's and Yum also announced they have severed ties with Shanghai Husi. While food safety issues are common in Chinese media, Yum -- an American company that earned over half its revenues from its Chinese establishments -- is only now recovering from a 2012 report that revealed its chicken suppliers were using an excessive amount of growth hormones.
"They (the restaurant companies) need to show that they're looking for a replacement supplier or they're using a supplier from another country or are investigating the supplier, to make sure that they are going through the due diligence of ensuring that they find a supplier that will be up to their standards going forward," said Candice Lee, a American attorney specializing in franchising.
"Something to put the consumers' minds at ease that they're not going to use the tainted product and to ensure that this is not going to happen again."