Chinese officials have confiscated rat meat that was sold as mutton in what has turned out to be yet another food safety scandal in the country.
Authorities explained that 904 people were arrested in a total of 308 cases during a recent operation. The suspects were responsible for taking meat from rats and foxes and passing it off as lamb.
One case in particular found approximately 60 people in Shanghai for passing off rat, fox, and mink meat as mutton. The individuals used spices and gelatin in order to disguise the meat. Officials explained that none of the food had been tested for quality or safety.
“Food safety crimes are still prominent, and new situations are emerging with new characteristics,” Ministry of Public Security explained in an official statement.
The nationwide operation found police busting several illegal food plants where rat meat was being sold at mutton. When everything was said and done, authorities confiscated around 22 tons of meat from these facilities. One operation in particular had netted $1.6 million in sales since 2009.
This isn’t the first time that Chinese authorities have dealt with a serious food-related problem this year. Approximately 16,000 dead pigs were found floating in Shanghai’s main water sources last March. Officials believe that overcrowding at area pig farms caused owners to dispose of the corpses in a nearby river.
Police in Anhui province also confiscated around 15 tons of painted pork. It’s believed that around 20 tons of the bad food has already been sold to customers.
The Supreme People’s Court wants to impose stricter guidelines and harsher punishments for offenders. This follows a number of health-related incidents over the years, including contaminated milk, rice, baby formula, and eggs containing industrial dyes. The penal code is currently unclear about what acts are considered to be violations.
What do you think should happen to the people who sold rat meat as mutton in China?
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]