Most 'beef' sold at Hangzhou market is pork, report finds

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 6:31pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 7:16pm

Horsemeat burgers may have stolen headlines in the last few months, but back in China, these food scandals are all too familiar.

Chemical-laden mutton passing as duck; milk infused with fake protein and then there's the gutter oil - here is something less shocking but still interesting, nonetheless. Five in eight beef products at a Hangzhou market were discovered to have no beef content in them at all, according to random sampling tests conducted by a Zhejiang newspaper.

DNA tests commissioned to the Zhejiang Institute of Science and Technology Inspection and Quarantine laboratory found that most of the “beef” products were actually all pork and no beef, the Zhejiang Daily reported on Tuesday.

Pork, which is half the price of beef, can be half-cooked, marinated in a “beef extract” made up of starch, colouring and additives and specially processed to look and taste like beef, it said.

The report also said fake beef was no longer an “open secret” as  profit- maximising vendors were finding it too easy to pass processed half-cooked pork off as fake beef. A pound of beef can fetch at least 40-50 yuan (HK$50-60).

Customers told the newspaper they were aware they would sometimes be buying beef that had been injected with water to fake freshness, but never fathomed the beef itself could be forged.