A Rodent In Sheep’s Clothing? China Cracks Down On Crime Ring Selling Rat As Mutton

We thought our European brethren had it bad with the horsemeat brouhaha, but over in China, the meat scandal bar has been raised: Police have made 904 arrests as part of a crackdown on a crime ring that was allegedly selling rats and other small mammals as mutton. Cue intense shudder.

According to a report from Reuters, the crime ring sold more than $1 million in the rodent meat, and were busted as part of the food safety sweep in the country due to a bird flu outbreak.

The Ministry of Public Security announced the hundreds of suspected charged with selling and producing fake or tainted meat products in a statement on its website yesterday.

Officials say they’ve been trying their best to catch people tainting meat, but despite that “food safety crimes are still prominent, and new situations are emerging with new characteristics,” the ministry’s statement said, citing “responsible officials.”

Food problems have been abounding in China recently, what with an outbreak of H7N9 bird flu virus, as well as rotting pigs found in one of Shanghai’s water sources, and 1,000 dead ducks sitting in a river in Sichuan. But this rat meat thing has struck a particularly gross chord with citizens.

“Rats? How disgusting. Everything we eat is poison,” one commenter on a Chinese social networking site wrote.

Chinese police bust million-dollar rat-meat ring [Reuters]