There has been more than $1 million in rat and small mammal meat that has been passed off as mutton in China. Chinese police have recently broken the crime ring passing off the rodent meat as mutton, Reuters reported.
Police have discovered one such suspect with the surname Wei who used spice and additives to change the flavor of rat, fox and minx meat in markets in Shanghai and the Jiangsu province, reported Reuters.
"The rat meat ring in Jiangsu and Shanghai used gelatin, food colouring and industrial chemicals to make rat, fox and mink meat look and taste more like mutton, the police statement said," reported The Financial Times.
The Ministry of Public Security said in a statement n their website that there have been 904 suspects arrested since the end of January for selling and producing fake or tainted meat products. There have been more than 20,000 metric tons of the fake meat product that have been confiscated.
, "Food safety crimes are still prominent, and new situations are emerging with new characteristics", said the ministry's statement.
This latest news comes at a time when the country is already grappling with a bird flu epidemic and many food and safety scandals.
"China has many laws [related to food safety] but the problem is in enforcement," said Zheng Fengtian, a professor at the school of agricultural economics and rural development at Renmin University in Beijing to The Financial Times. "If nobody is checking then there are no consequences for people who break the law."
The ministry said that in some cases, the rodent meat caused sickness or even killed people who ate them.
In China, many restaurants have taken poultry off their menus after the bird flu virus was found in humans for the first time in late March, reported The FT. In March there were more than 16,000 pig carcases found in river that flows through Shanghai.
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