McDonald's Japan hit by more nugget woes

TOKYO - McDonald's Japan said Monday it was facing more chicken nugget woes after a customer found a piece of vinyl inside the popular menu item.

The company said the foreign object was discovered at an outlet in the northern city of Misawa, in a nugget sourced from a Thai company it had switched to in the wake of a food scare at one of its Chinese suppliers.

In July, Chinese officials shut food-supplier Shanghai Husi Food Co. following a television report alleging the plant mixed out-of-date meat with fresh product that was then supplied to McDonald's and other major fast-food chains.

The summertime crisis prompted the Japanese arm of the global firm to drop Chinese poultry suppliers and switched to manufacturers in Thailand.

Batches of nuggets made by the Thai supplier on the same day as the suspect item would not be sold, a company spokeswoman said.

"We are starting to investigate how this could have happened," she said.

The latest incident drew widespread media attention on Monday with the story covered by Japan's national broadcaster NHK and the top-selling Yomiuri newspaper.

It comes less than two weeks after the Japanese unit said an emergency airlift has eased a french fries shortage which forced the chain to ration the crispy treat at more than 3,000 restaurants across the country.

Labour disputes on the US West Coast curbed exports of fries, leaving Japanese restaurants scrambling to secure fresh supplies.