KFC launches China campaign to rebuild brand

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BEIJING (AP) — KFC launched a campaign today to rebuild its battered brand in China, promising tighter quality control after a scandal over misuse of drugs by its poultry suppliers.

The company, a unit of Yum Brands Inc., promised to test meat for banned drugs, strengthen oversight of farmers and encourage them to improve their technology. It said more than 1,000 small producers used by its 25 poultry suppliers have been eliminated from its network.

KFC, which is China’s biggest fast-food chain with more than 4,000 outlets, was hit hard when state television reported in December that some suppliers violated rules on the use of drugs to fatten chickens. The company estimates January sales plunged 37 percent.

Yum, based in Louisville, Kentucky, said it expects sales in China to tumble by up to 25 percent in the current quarter. The company also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

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