Nearly 100,000 tons of frozen meat were seized in China, as they were not fit for human consumption. Authorities confirmed the 40-year-old “zombie meat” was imported from Vietnam to China, where it was sold to unsuspecting restaurant and shop owners. Although it was clearly rotten, authorities said the meat was worth an estimated $600 million.
As reported by Daily Mail, the frozen meat was seized by Chinese customs officials during a nationwide organized crime sweep. According to reports, more than 22 individuals, who were members of 20 different gangs, were arrested during the operation.
— CNN International (@cnni) June 24, 2015
Authorities said those arrested include two men identified as “Li” and “Zhong,” who are known organized crime bosses. They hope the seizure and arrests will help curb the illegal transport and sale of tainted meat.
Customs officials confirmed the seized meat included beef, chicken wings, and pork. Although many boxes were unlabeled, others were clearly stamped in the 1970s.
Discovery reports the meat was likely “packed and stored when the country was still under the rule of Communist China’s founding father Mao Zedong, who died in 1976.”
Authorities believe the frozen meat originated in Brazil and India prior to being shipped to Hong Kong and Vietnam — where it was stored for several decades.
Anti-Smuggling Bureau Deputy Director Yang Bo said the meat is often transported in large trucks, which do not contain refrigeration units. Therefore, it often thaws out and is refrozen numerous times.
Authorities said the rotten meats were transported across the Vietnam border by organized crime syndicates. As the border region is vast, officials said it is “difficult to control” illegal imports.
Although 100,000 tons of frozen meat were seized in China, it is unknown how much reached restaurants and consumers prior to the bust.
Yang Bo said the meat was never inspected or quarantined. As the origin and quality are questionable, officials are concerned it could be tainted with bird flu or mad cow disease.
— entertainment.ie (@entertainmentIE) June 24, 2015
Customs official Zhang Tao, who was present during the seizure, said the meat was clearly rotten.
“It stank! The entire truck was full. I almost threw up when I opened the doors.”
It is unclear how authorities disposed of the frozen meat seized in China. However, they confirmed the tainted products will not be sold to restaurants or consumers.
[Image via Shutterstock]