Proving that one man’s table scraps are another man’s treasure, the UK is exporting meat offcuts, namely chicken feet, to China, where they’re delicacies. Despite the fact that nose to tail restaurants have become a big hit in the UK, the millions of pounds the meat industry can earn by slinging these nitty-gritty bits abroad is apparently too big a draw, The Telegraph reports:
“The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture has sent vets and officials to both Russia and China in an attempt to ensure British produce can meet the regulatory requirements to export offal and meat offcuts to those countries. “It is a big help to the industry here to have major export opportunities for products like kidneys and livers,” Mr Paterson said.
We are working with the Chinese authorities to establish that our veterinary standards are correct here as imports of chicken feet could be of significant interest to the Chinese. That would be a huge boost to the British poultry industry here. There is significant demand for pigs’ trotters in China too.”
UK chicken producers have estimated that selling chicken feet for food in China could add an extra 15 per cent, or £1.50, to the revenue earned from each bird.
The industry is currently worth around £4.4 billion a year, but chicken feet are discarded by rendering before being dumped in landfill.
In 2012 China imported 231,700 tons of chicken feet from abroad, a trade worth around £214 million.”
A good chunk of these chicken feet come from the US, which has, in the past hurt local chicken producers by flooding the Chinese market with below-cost chicken talons.
This isn’t the first time Westerners have profited from selling what they consider “trash items” to the Chinese. Viewed as pests in German lakes and rivers, hairy crabs are exported to China during the Autumn crab season, where they can fetch up to 500 yuan a piece at fancy banquet halls.