Beijing McDonald’s Expired Food Scandal Ignites Public Anger

Beijing McDonald's manager responds to media.

A Beijing Mcdonald's is in hot water after CCTV reporters uncovered unsanitary practices including serving food that had expired or had fallen onto the floor.

Beijing’s Sanlitun McDonald’s is in hot water after an undercover CCTV reporter infiltrated its kitchen to uncover a number of unsanitary practices including serving expired food as well as serving food that had fallen onto the floor.

The report, whose release was timed in such a way to coincide with CCTV’s hyped “3-15” World Consumer Rights Day evening broadcast, sent a shockwave of anger through a public tired of unending food scandals and expecting more of a Western company once thought to have strict food preparation guidelines.

In the video, the reporter uncovered a reportedly widespread practice of workers resetting timers on food warming trays after an alarm sounded indicating the food inside had expired. In one example, chicken wings with an expiration time of 30 minutes were left in the warming tray for nearly two hours.

In another example, cheese used to top burgers and breakfast sandwiches was left out for four hours, despite regulations stipulating it be thrown out after two hours. In the video, the reporter notes the cheese had begun to noticeably discolor and had also become cracked and brittle after sitting out for so long.

Workers were also seen dealing with expired pies by simply switching out the boxes they were housed in in order to write a new expiration time.

And perhaps the most nauseating of the practices caught on film, a few frozen hamburger patties tumbled onto the noticeably dirty floor, only to be picked up and brushed off by a flippant staff member who simply remarked, “It doesn’t matter, the bacteria will just die when it’s cooked anyway, no one will get sick.”

Video from Youku:

Comments from NetEase:

芙小小 [网易云南省网友]:

Why is all of this [scandal] concentrated around 3.15? Why can’t they be stricter normally? Unscrupulous businesses/companies! McDonald’s is going downhill! Doesn’t learn from the good, and instead only learns the bad! [spits on the ground in contempt]

请不要代婊我 [网易广东省深圳市网友]:

McDonald’s isn’t an advertiser on CCTV, right? I know KFC is. [Refers to CCTV’s reputation for running exposes and embarrassing companies that don’t advertise with them.]

鼓捣摸你 [网易湖北省武汉市网友]:

I’m not a wumao, nor an American running dog. I just have one question: With deep fried foods, is McDonald’s or street vendors more hygienic/sanitary?

中石油CEO [网易山西省朔州市网友]:

A company inherently doesn’t have morality to speak of. Wherever it goes, it will pick up the characteristics of that place, McDonald’s is no exception. Our [Chinese] companies follow the regulations after going to America at all times, deathly afraid of being fined.


KFC is the same, one bite of their burger/sandwich and you know it’s been sitting out for a long time, that they definitely don’t throw it out when the time’s expired.


This CCTV expose precisely illustrates that people can feel at ease with foreign fast-food restaurants’ health standards.

llhzrf946 [网易黑龙江省哈尔滨市网友]:

This is only the tip of the iceberg, if every one of China’s dark secrets was revealed, you would be horrified. This is a country that depends on lies for preservation, just like in a fairytale.


KFC applauds and cheers.

A Beijing Mcdonald's is in hot water after CCTV reporters uncovered unsanitary practices including serving food that had expired or had fallen onto the floor.

What do you think? Is this an isolated incident or an industry standard? Will you continue to eat at McDonald’s?

Source: NetEase, Youku

Written by Joel

Joel is a reclusive writer based in Shanghai who took up blogging as a hobby one summer and never looked back. Former editor of Shanghaiist.


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