Fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) said that its US provider for potato flour has applied to the Ministry of Public Health to set up special standards for potato flour.
According to a news release from KFC's operator, the Shanghai-based Tricon China Investment Co, related scientific research is proceeding, and the ministry is expected to make a decision soon.
But officials from the ministry are unavailable for comment.
China's State Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) on Thursday said that between February and May up to 40,000 kilograms of potato flour imported from the United States was found to contain bleaching powder in levels higher than allowed for food. The potato flour issued for mashed potatoes sold at a "renowned fast food chain restaurant.''
Tricon China Friday said that China has not yet established a special category of standards for bleaching powder contained in potato flour and that the standards used to bar the potato flour in question were for starch contained in food.
Major Chinese web portals and the press recently carried stories about the suspended sales of mashed potatoes in KFC chain restaurants across the country. Previous reports quoted KFC as pointing to "reasons related to the co-ordination of the supply'' for its failure to provide mashed potatoes to customers.
In Friday's news release, Tricon China said it is exploring finding new providers for the raw materials used in the mashed potatoes so as to resume the supply at an early date.
The food chain is considering providers from China, whose potatoes the KFC had once refused because their shape and purity did not meet its standards.
(People's Daily 08/05/2001)