Papa John's restaurant used old dough to make pizzas

Updated: 2014-08-01 07:25

By Cang Wei in Wuxi, Jiangsu (China Daily)

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A Papa John's restaurant in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province, has been closed temporarily for using expired dough to make pizza crusts, in the latest scandal to hit the fast food industry.

Officials from the local food and drug administration on Saturday found that the restaurant in Pukou district sold 42 pizzas made from expired dough. They also discovered some expired meat products that had gone bad.

Xu Wenjun, director of the administration's policy and regulation department, said the meat has been sent to the district's health and epidemic prevention center for testing.

"The results of the tests will be announced to the public as soon as we get them," said Xu. "If Papa John's is shown to have food safety problems, it will be punished severely."

However, he said that if sales of the expired food do not exceed 10,000 yuan ($1,620), under the law Papa John's can be fined no more than 50,000 yuan.

The inspectors found that staff members at the restaurant did not wear masks while preparing food, and that expired items were stored in a freezer next to fresh products.

Ding Liang, a manager at Papa John's in Shanghai who traveled to Nanjing to help investigate the scandal, said improper conduct will not be tolerated. The company will monitor every establishment to ensure they obey food laws and regulations, he added.

Zhang Mao, deputy director of the food and drug administration, said inspectors seized expired meat supplied by Shanghai Husi Food Co at the restaurant on July 22.

Large quantities of Husi's products, including chicken, steak and vegetables, were seized nationwide after reports that the company was mixing expired meat with new products. The products were supplied to many popular fast food chains in China, including McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

"Besides testing the expired food products, we are tracing the pizzas made from expired dough to safeguard people's health," Zhang said.

Li Chengxian, 37, who lives in Nanjing's Pukou district, bought an electric oven on Wednesday to make chicken wings and pizza for her son at home.

"It's really difficult to be a mom these days," she said. "Normally, you just need to buy something at a pizza place. I don't understand why some restaurants sell customers expired food that they wouldn't buy for their families."

US-based Papa John's was founded in 1983 and has more than 4,000 outlets worldwide.