Covid-19: KFC denies viral claim that its poultry supply comes from a Pedas processing plant where staff have allegedly tested positive


  • Technology
  • Wednesday, 13 May 2020

KFC Malaysia said it is not associated with a chicken processing plant in Pedas, Negeri Sembilan where staff have allegedly tested positive for Covid-19. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

KFC Malaysia has denied an unverified report claiming that the company’s poultry supply comes from a chicken processing plant in Pedas, Negeri Sembilan, where staff have allegedly tested positive for Covid-19.

“We would like to assure our customers that KFC Malaysia is not associated with the plant and that it does not supply any poultry to KFC Malaysia,” the company said in a statement posted on its official Facebook page.

The company reassured that “every aspect of its food manufacturing process follows strict controls and accepts only certificates recognised by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and strictly adheres to MS1500:2009 (Malaysian Standard on Halal Food)”.

“We work closely with our existing poultry suppliers to ensure the food we serve complies with the highest food safety and hygiene standards,” the statement reiterated.

When contacted by Lifestyle Tech, KFC Management said the statement was issued after it discovered an unverified report in PDF format that has been circulating among users on messaging services like WhatsApp.

The report claimed that KFC is one of many companies that gets its supply from a poultry processing plant in Pedas where up to 60 workers have tested positive for Covid-19 and was purportedly prepared by the Veterinary Service Department in Putrajaya, dated May 9, 2020.

Users who shared the message warned others not to purchase or consume chicken for the time being out of fear that it may carry traces of Covid-19.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a report stated that it is “highly unlikely that people can contract Covid-19 from food or food packaging”.

“Covid-19 is a respiratory illness and the primary transmission route is through person-to person contact and through direct contact with respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There is no evidence to date of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses being transmitted via food or food packaging. Coronaviruses cannot multiply in food; they need an animal or human host to multiply,” WHO said in a ‘Food And Safety: Guidance For Food Businesses’ report.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has also stated that there is no indication that Covid-19 can spread through food.

“We have not heard of the virus spreading through food, but most importantly if one of the workers is tested positive, we have to screen the close contacts in the restaurant,” he said in a press conference on April 5.

The Veterinary Service Department told Lifestyle Tech that it will issue an official statement on the matter later today.

Fake news related to Covid-19 has become major issue in Malaysia that is prompted authorities to step up efforts to combat misinformation. The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has opened up 262 investigations papers related to Covid-19 fake news, according to the Ministry of Defence via Twitter on May 12.

It added that 179 reports are still under investigation, 29 cases have been charged in court, 11 were issued warning notices and 18 have pleaded guilty.

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