Scandal in China: Rat Meat Sold as Lamb

Meat was allegedly covered in gelatin, red pigment, nitrates

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 3, 2013 8:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – Europeans freaking out about horse meat should take heart: It could be worse. Chinese authorities have taken down a crime ring accused of selling meat from a variety of animals—including rats, minks, and foxes—as lamb, in a scheme that raked in around $1.6 million, they announced yesterday. Police have arrested 63 people tied to the ring, which has allegedly been operating since 2009, Reuters reports. The meat was allegedly covered in gelatin, red pigment, and nitrates before being sold off, the New York Times adds.

China is no stranger to food scandals, but this one stands out. "Rats? How disgusting. Everything we eat is poison," wrote one Weibo user. Another quipped, "How many rats does it take to put together a sheep?" Authorities are taking the problem seriously; this bust was just the latest in a crackdown that since January has seen 904 people arrested for meat-related crimes, and 1,721 factories and shops shut down.

A vendor prepares lamb kebabs at a temple fair in Beijing Friday, Jan. 30, 2009.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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