• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 4:05am

Rat meat sold as lamb in latest China food scandal

Rodent-peddling Jiangsu gang broken up in government crackdown on adulterated products

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 May, 2013, 11:42pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 May, 2013, 4:24pm

A Jiangsu gang was caught passing off rat, fox and mink meat as mutton, just one of hundreds of cases of meat-related offences uncovered by the Ministry of Public Security recently.

The ministry said the 63-member gang in Wuxi bought the raw meat cheaply in Shandong province and had set up 50 places to process it, adding gelatin, nitrate salt and colouring, so that it looked and tasted like frozen rolled mutton.

It sold the fake mutton to wet market stallholders in Shanghai, Jiangsu and other neighbouring provinces between 2009 and February this year. Ten tonnes of raw meat was seized and the suspects had made more than 10 million yuan (HK$12.5 million) in sales.

The ministry released a statement on its website on Thursday saying it had busted 382 cases of meat-related offences since launching a crackdown on January 25, with 904 people arrested and more than 20,000 tonnes of illegal meat products seized across the country.

Is it too easy to produce fake meat? Or is it too hard and expensive to run a legal business in China

In Liaoning, a gang had sold more than 20,000 diseased and dead chickens to restaurants since 2007, disguising the putrefaction by adding strong spices and roasting the chicken to give it a smoky taste.

In another high-profile case in Guizhou province, police busted two dens processing and selling meat and arrested six people. The suspects had used hydrogen peroxide solution to process chicken claws. With an output of 300kg per day, the gang had made a profit of more than four million yuan.

"Rat meat? Mutton? I could not feel any sicker than this," one internet user wrote.

Shenzhen resident Wendy Liu asked why the authorities had so much trouble stamping out such crimes, despite launching crackdowns every year.

"Is it too easy to produce fake meat? Or is it too hard and expensive to run a legal business in China?" she asked. "The government should rethink the problem."

The authorities release plans to improve food safety every year, but the Ministry of Public Security said such cases were occurring frequently, with ever more shocking breaches exposed. It promised to target dairy products, edible oils, health supplements, meat and food additives.


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Healthily Cynical
I don't see what all the fuss is about, rat is actually rather tasty .. in Europe we've been eating horse for years ;-)
I'm New Here
What sickens me the most is the lack of business sense being demonstrated by these "gangs". Take the Chinese peoples' dislike of lamb relative to beef or pork, the Chinese peoples' (and adventurous Western tourists') willingness to eat exotic meats, and wealthy Mainland Chinese tendency towards conspicuous consumption. To sell mink as lamb in order to make more money than you would make by throwing the meat away is the laziest possible business model you could arrive at in this situation. Imagine a well-marketed campaign touting the newest luxury food craze: eating mink! It's new and exciting, the sexy and succulent meat treat that the elite meet to eat.
Selling fake meat and other things,such as powered milk,has become a common practice in China. I think it's useless to correct their misconceptions unless they have some common sense.
Another point is the chemicals they used to process the meat could be dangerous. Try it yourselves.
Put your mouth where your money is. Go catch get few rats and eat it and feed your family.
It seems **ANYTHING** is possible in China these days.
So why should one be surprised ?
Should be surprised only if nothing like that happens on a regular basis.
Is it too easy to produce fake meat? Or is it too hard and expensive to run a legal business in China?" she asked. "The government should rethink the problem." I would say both. Greedy people. Running a legal biz in china is not easy with rising wages, rent and often due with corruption. Also I think part of that is the widening of gap between poor and rich is also contributing for a huge demand of "cheap" food ingredient or material. The low income mass want to consume and can't afford for "true" infpgredients. Restaurant operators try to compete with a low price but facing rising rent, wages, has to cut food costs. This is a simple math. Even in hK, I see the good quality of restaurant falling in the past years as they all have to cope with rising costs to substitute with lower quality ingredients. There is no free lunch.


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