Image credit: James Griffiths.
If you ate lamb hotpot in Shanghai in the last four years, you may have inadvertently consumed rat (gross), fox (gross), or mink (classy), the Ministry of Public Security announced on Thursday.
In a press release published online the ministry explained that a man, surnamed Wei, had been arrested on suspicion of buying “foxes, minks, rats and other uninspected meat products in Shandong […] adding gelatine, carmine, nitrate and other substances,” and then selling the meat as lamb at farmers’ markets in Jiangsu and Shanghai.
According to the SCMP:
Wei’s organisation was raided in Jiangsu and Shanghai in February, which led to the arrest of 63 suspects and the seizure of 10 tons of meat and additives.
Police estimates that Wei’s sales over the last four years have reached a value of 10 million yuan (HK$12.6 million).
The ministry has recently launched a crackdown against food fraud, and while we of course appreciate the effort, reading the press releases explaining what might have been in our food before the crackdown began is pretty unsettling.
Over the last three months, authorities throughout China have seized some 20,000 tons in counterfeit meat and arrested 3,576 suspects in the operation, dealing “a heavy blow to the arrogance of criminals”, the ministry said.
Consumers would do well to treat lamb with suspicion, as this isn’t the first time restaurants have been caught passing off other meats as lamb.