Managing director, Doug Smart of KFC South Africa, highlighted in a statement that the chicken was not meant for human consumption and that the staff of the branch had breached protocol by discarding the chicken in that manner.
“Having looked into the circumstances at our Braamfontein store, we can confirm that this is an isolated incident involving this store only. This was chicken never intended for sale to customers and at no time was any customer at risk.
“However the way in which they handled the product to be disposed of definitely did not follow our procedures,” he said.
KFC also did damage control by posting statements on their social media accounts.
“The franchisee required the team to discard product before breading it to avoid breading (mixture of flour and our secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices) waste. The team had some waste that they had discarded with breading on it and they were washing it off to hide it from management.
We have strict processes in place, even when it comes to food disposal and will not tolerate our stores not following them. We have already dealt very firmly with the owner and responsible people involved,” read the statement.
The big guns present at the Braamfontein franchise following the surface of images showing staff members washing chicken on a dirty floor included the managing director of KFC Africa, Doug Smart, the chief operating officer, Jason Kerr as well as the franchise owner, Solomon Malebane.
Malebane, the man responsible for the Braamfontein franchise as well as 22 other franchises chose to fall on his sword and assume responsibility for the ‘safety regulations’ which led to the chicken washing scandal.
Speaking to journalists during a special press conference held this morning, Malebane said that the strict rules he had introduced over and above the normal safety regulations may have caused the workers to act in the way they did when handling the meat.
Malebane reportedly insists that his staff ensure the chicken passes all the quality checks before ‘breading’ – which is just a fancy word meaning seasoning.
This means that they need to discard product which has not met their standards before breading it to avoid breading waste.
According to Malebane, the staff seasoned the chicken and only after seasoning did they realise that the chicken is not of good standard – by good standard KFC does not necessarily mean foul by simply ‘broken’ among other things – and had to wash-off the seasoning mix in order to save their jobs.
“Now what happened is our staff realised that they had breaded the meat before picking up that some of the pieces were damaged. And again the cooked product must be separated from the raw product and they had also put them together. Now to avoid explaining later, they tried to separate the pieces as you saw them hosing it and removing that breading” he said.
The company claims that the meat seen in the video and pictures was frozen then sent to be turned into animal feed and that it was never intended for sale to customers.
Malebane was allegedly reprimanded for adding extra regulations that are not part of the standard KFC regulations and has since been instructed to remove them from the list of procedures.
An investigation the two staff members captured on video and images has been launched and the outcome is expected to be released soon. Meanwhile the Braamfontein branch has reopened and is operating as per usual.