McDonald’s Japan and Cargill Inc., one of the fast-food company’s chicken suppliers in Asia, are apologizing and trying to reassure the public after a customer at a McDonald’s outlet in Misawa, Japan, reportedly found a 1.5-inch strip of vinyl in an order of chicken nuggets this past weekend. “I am confident that my family can eat McDonald’s products,” said Takehiko Aoki, senior vice president for McDonald’s Holding Co. (Japan) Ltd., during a packed press conference held Wednesday in Tokyo. Cargill temporarily halted production at the company’s chicken-processing plant in Saraburi, Thailand, and officials were said to be investigating the situation. “Food quality is our top priority, and we take these matters very seriously. We are now taking every action we can in collaboration with McDonald’s to determine the facts,” Cargill officials said in a statement. “Based on the outcome of this investigation we will make any changes required to improve processes.” It was just the latest piece of bad news for McDonald’s, which recently switched to three Thai meat suppliers (two owned by Cargill) after troubles with Chinese-manufactured chicken nuggets and had just resumed selling all sizes of french fries after supplies were apparently delayed because of the West Coast dock strike. Another McDonald’s customer in Japan reportedly found a human tooth last year in an order of french fries from the firm’s Osaka outlet, and a small piece of plastic was allegedly found in a sundae from a McDonald’s in Koriyama, Japan, in December. McDonald’s was hit hard by the resulting scandal this past summer when Shanghai Husi Food Co. was accused of repackaging expired meat for its fast-food clients in China. Several executives of the U.S.-owned meat supplier were arrested or detained after the news came out. This past month, McDonald’s Corporation, based in Oak Brook, IL, posted its worst monthly sales decline in more than 10 years. And the company’s Japanese operations forecasted a $156.7-million net loss for 2014, in part due to food-safety problems.