KFC has moved to dismiss claims it sources produce from a vegetable supplier embroiled in a hygiene scandal.
Disturbing undercover video of workers stomping barefoot across large piles of cabbage, while some employees smoke, has gone viral on Chinese social media after it was shared at China's consumer rights gala on Tuesday, Global Times reported.
In one alarming clip, a worker is seen flicking a cigarette butt into the produce.
The video was filmed at the Hunan Chaqi Vegetable Co Ltd, which states on its website KFC is one of its partners. It also lists McDonald's as a company it shares strategic cooperative relations with.
KFC has since responded to the furore, stating the company is not a supplier.
"[The company] has nothing to do with KFC, and has been ordered to immediately withdraw the false information from its official website," KFC said via its official social accounts in China.
The company's site has since been pulled.
KFC is wildly popular in China and far outperforms McDonald's. It enjoys the largest share of the fast food market of any Western brand.
A host of e-commerce sites selling pickled cabbage flavoured instant noodles pulled such products in the wake of the video.
Three hashtags for the story on Weibo, China's twitter-like social media site, have a combined 320 million views in less than 24 hours.
Users branded the video as "outrageous" and "unsanitary" and wished China's food safety standards would improve.
"I will never eat pickled cabbage again," one person wrote.
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