China food safety

Poisoning may point to rat meat in Beijing lamb skewers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 July, 2013, 9:04am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 11:05am

An incident of poisoning in Beijing has been traced to yangrou chuanr, the ubiquitous lamb skewers sold on streets, in what could be more proof that rat, dog and cat meat are being widely used among street hawkers. 

Beijing hospital No 307, which is affiliated with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences of the People's Liberation Army, found traces of bromadiolone in a blood sample of a 20-year-old tourist from northeastern China.

Doctors believe the tourist ingested the widely used rat poison during an evening of drinks and lamb skewers with his parents and girlfriend at a Beijing roadside food stand, the Beijing Evening News reported on Monday.

The patient's back and ankles were covered with bruises the size of a sheet of paper, doctors said. 

The poisoning case comes two months after the nation's Ministry of Public Security released its findings of counterfeit-meat sales throughout China.

The inquiries showed that rat, fox and mink meat had been sold as lamb at Shanghai hotpot restaurants and that duck meat was used for Inner Mongolian beef jerky.  

Last year, Dr Yu Ying - billed as China’s real-life answer to Dr House from the US television medical drama House and nicknamed “emergency room superwoman” - revealed a similar case of poisoning by rodenticides in meat skewers.

Netizens have called for a boycott and stricter inspections of street food hawkers, a measure likely to highlight the work of chengguan, or urban management officers, who are tasked with cracking down on illegal hawkers but are often accused of corruption and arbitrary violence.