Burger King has apologised to customers in China after state media reported that two of the US fast-food chain’s outlets sold expired food in the country, causing an uproar on social media.
Food safety issues have long been a concern in China, where quality-control scandals have fuelled fears over the safety of food and anger at regulatory lapses.
The problems at the two restaurants were highlighted on Thursday in an influential consumer affairs programme on state television CCTV that has previously shamed McDonald’s in China.
A Burger King in Nanchang, in central Jiangxi province, had used expired ingredients to make its burgers, according to the programme.
Video footage also showed staff tearing off the shelf time label from a package of expired bread and replacing them with new ones upon instructions of the restaurant manager.
A second Burger King restaurant in Nanchang changed the date of expired chicken.
Other problems found at the restaurants included selling burgers with fewer ingredients.
Burger King responded immediately after the programme aired, releasing a statement on social media saying it “attaches great importance” to the issue and had closed the relevant outlets for “investigation and rectification”.
“Our mismanagement has betrayed the trust of consumers to Burger King and we express our deepest apology for this,” the statement said.
Eaters disgusted by the news vented on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.
“I am so disappointed. I will never eat at Burger King again,” one user wrote.
“They need a thorough rectification. If not, they should be closed for good,” wrote another.
In 2012, the CCTV programme reported that McDonald’s was selling expired food and using beef patties that had fallen on the ground.