Just when you thought that you could not get more shocking news from China’s environmental and food safety scandals, like thousands of dead pigs floating down a major river, you stand corrected. Chinese officials have found dozens of traders in Eastern China selling huge amounts of rat and mink flesh as mutton. This is not a couple pounds. The meat was sold for $1.6 million. Six suspects in Guizhou Province were found with 8.8 tons of “toxic chicken feet.”
Sixty-three people were arrested for “buying fox, mink and rat and other meat products that had not undergone inspection.” I am hopeful that there is no inspection for rat meat and that it is simply unlawful. The traders doused the meat in gelatin, red pigment, and nitrates, and sold it as mutton in Shanghai and adjacent Jiangsu Province.
The Chinese government is attempting to crackdown with almost 1000 people arrested for selling fake, diseased, toxic or adulterated meat.
One company in Inner Mongolia, a northeast region of China, was processing 23 tons of fake beef jerky and unprocessed frozen meat that was chemically altered and swarming with bacteria.
In one case, a person died from lamb saturated with pesticide.
It would be interesting to see how the stifling pollution and rampant food safety issues are affecting tourism to China. In my trips to China, I have been very leery of the overt lack of sanitation in many restaurants. You have to eat at the higher end restaurants to minimize risk. However, if tons of altered and contaminated meat are being sold, it is hard to see how you can be certain of the quality or even true identity of the food.
Source: NY Times