Dead Rat In Soup Causes Chinese Restaurant Chain To Lose $190M

A dead rat has caused a Chinese restaurant to lose a great deal of money.

Wang He / Getty Images

A dead rat has caused a Chinese restaurant to lose a great deal of money.

A shocking discovery was made when a dead rat was found in a bowl of soup by a pregnant woman who was in the process of consuming it. The popular hotpot restaurant chain called Xiabu Xiabu in eastern China is said to have lost $190 million after the story — and the photos corroborating it — hit social media.

BBC News reported that the incident that happened last Thursday prompted the shut down of the restaurant. An investigation has been launched. The patrons, Mr. Ma and his family, were having dinner at the hotpot chain in Shandong province. His pregnant wife had taken a few bites of the hot soup and then discovered the dead rat. Once photos of the boiled rodent hit the internet, they quickly spread.

Mr. Ma was concerned for his expectant wife — and has taken her to get checked over to be sure her and the baby are okay — after eating the rat-tainted soup. The staff at the restaurant allegedly offered the couple 20,000 yuan, which is $3,000 US dollars, for them to have an abortion if they were concerned for the child’s health. “If you are worried about the baby, then we’ll give you 20,000 yuan (US$3,000) to abort it,” they supposedly told the couple.

The chain also offered a compensation price of 5,000 yuan. However, Mr. Ma decided to hold off until his wife and baby were checked out at a medical facility first. He would be ready to negotiate with them after they were cleared of any health issues from the dead rat incident.

Many were shocked and disgusted by this story — grossed out by the photos that circulated on Weibo. Some users said that they would never eat there ever again. Others were upset about the staff offering money for an abortion. “If something happens to her baby how are they going to compensate her? Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?” one person said.

A statement was put out by Xiabu Xiabu concerning the incident. Within, the chain claimed that food security is a high priority for them and that they would also work with officials to make any necessary improvements. They also mentioned that they did not believe that a lack of hygiene had anything to do with it. However, according to BBC News, that statement has since been deleted.

After an investigation of the restaurant, there was no evidence found that would suggest any trace of rats in the facility. The chain’s market value plummeted to its lowest point in the past year, as they have reportedly lost $190 million over the affair.

Hotpot soups are a popular Chinese dish where seasoned broth is placed, simmering, at the table in front of you as the items are added in. According to Thrillist, the ingredients commonly include fresh meats, tofu, various vegetables, and noodles.