The next time someone is critical of food-safety protocols in the United States, remind them that they could always move to China. According to an article in China News by Wang Zhenghua, some Chinese families will no longer buy mutton due to reports that the lamb sold in produce markets may actually be rat, fox or mink meat.

“Over the weekend, the city's food safety commission office said it will investigate where the fake mutton has been sent after police broke up a criminal ring selling it from uninspected meat in Wuxi, Jiangsu province,” said the article. “The products are believed to have trickled down to markets in Shanghai.”

First, Chinese consumers were wary of chicken because of the H7N9 bird flu virus. A month ago, floating pig carcasses down the river through Shanghai threatened to take pork out of the menu mix, and now, counterfeit lamb is the culprit. Lamb and mutton are traditional ingredients in Chinese dishes.

If the country is trying to encourage vegetarianism, this probably isn’t the best way to do it.

The article reports that the raid “involved more than 200 officers, police in Shanghai and Jiangsu province arrested 63 people from a gang that allegedly sold more than 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) worth of fake mutton over three years, the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday. The gang passed the meat off as mutton by adding gelatine, carmine, nitrate and other substances, the ministry said.”

Larger supermarkets still carry mutton products, but sources say supplies are limited.

(Source: China Daily)