ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Food & Beverage

Burger King shops in China close following state-run TV expose

US fast-food chain apologizes after accusations it served expired food

A number of Burger King outlets in China's eastern Jiangxi Province have been shut after consumer affairs program "315 Night Show" accused the fast-food chain of serving expired products.   © AP

SHANGHAI -- U.S. fast-food chain Burger King has suspended operations at a number of its outlets in eastern China and is looking into allegations that it served expired food to customers.

An expose airing the accusations was shown on state-owned CCTV's annual "315 Night Show" dealing with consumer rights.

The show has been shown on CCTV every year on March 15, Consumer Rights Day, since 1991. This year's program, which was postponed to Thursday due to the pandemic, is widely watched as it puts businesses, including well-known foreign ones, under the microscope.

In addition to Burger King, another high-profile U.S. company that came under fire in this year's program was automaker General Motors, which was criticized for a faulty transmission in one of its models. A food processor in the eastern province of Shandong, meanwhile, was accused of using illegal pesticides in its sea cucumber breeding business.

Alibaba Group Holding, Apple and Starbucks have been targets of the "315 Night Show" in previous years, drawing apologies from those accused of misbehaving. The censure of Burger King and GM, the only foreign companies named this year, takes place against a backdrop of rising tensions between China and the U.S.

Following the broadcast, Burger King China issued an apology and promised to investigate.

Burger King restaurants in eastern China's Jiangxi Province were said to have served expired burgers and chicken nuggets by replacing labels, under instructions from shop managers. "The actions by these outlets seriously departed from our corporate philosophy of 'The customer is the king'," Burger King said a statement shortly after the broadcast.

The program drew a strong reaction on social media, with users questioning the chain's food safety practices, an issue that has been a nationwide concern as China works to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. "You didn't do anything until you were exposed," said one user on the Weibo microblog.

Burger King's China unit is licensed under Restaurant Brands International and managed by TAB Food Investments, a Turkish conglomerate that also runs the chain in Turkey. It has more than 1,300 outlets in 150 cities in China and has been operating in the country since 2012, according to the company's website.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media