MOSCOW, May 3 (RIA Novosti) – Chinese authorities busted a large food fraud ring that was selling fox, mink and rat meat as beef and mutton, local media reported Friday.
Sixty-three people were detained in connection with the ring, and 10 tons of meat and additives used to alter the food’s taste were seized, South China Morning Post said.
The ring has been supplying foodstuffs to markets in Shanghai and the neighboring Jiangsu Province since 2009, with total sales over the period amounting to 10 million yuan ($1.6 million), People’s Daily Online said.
The raids were conducted in February, but not reported previously, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said on its website.
The arrests are part of the sweeping campaign against food fraud, which saw more than 3,500 suspects detained and 20,000 tons of counterfeit meat confiscated over the past three months, the ministry said.
Other cases involved selling meat of dead animals and “beef jerky” made of duck meat, and use of steroids and sewer oil in foodstuffs, the report said.
Food security is a growing concern for China, which was rocked by food-related scandals in the past, most notably in 2008, when six infants died and 300,000 children fell ill after drinking milk that turned out to contain melamine.
In March, 16,000 dead pigs were fished out of the Huangpu River, Shanghai’s prime tap water supply. The hogs, killed by a harsh winter and poor conditions on the overcrowded farms, were dumped into the river by farmers.