Shanghai Cracks Down on Rat-for-Mutton Sales, Xinhua Reports

Shanghai authorities are cracking down on sales of mutton after police busted a crime ring selling rat, fox and mink as the meat, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today.

City police and officials from the food safety division raided a market in Minhang district on May 3 after a tip-off, and seized large quantities of meat with labels saying “New Zealand Sliced Lamb” without production dates or ingredients, Xinhua reported, citing unidentified people with the muncipality’s food safety office as saying. A delivery order indicated that some of the seized meat may have entered the supply chain for several hot pot restaurants in the city.

China is seeking to improve food safety after recent reports on violations sparked public outrage and increased scrutiny on the industry. The Ministry of Public Security busted a criminal operation that sold rat, fox and mink meat as mutton in Shanghai and neighboring Jiangsu province for more than 10 million yuan ($1.62 million), it said in a statement dated May 2.

Shanghai has started to collect suspicious samples of mutton and will conduct DNA tests to confirm if it is the meat, the report said.

Police arrested 904 people and seized more than 20,000 metric tons of illegal products in meat-related crimes over three months, the official Xinhua News Agency said May 2, citing the Ministry of Public Security.

Crimes included injecting meat with water and selling diseased or chemically treated pork or chicken, according to the public security statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Liza Lin in Shanghai at llin15@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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