For those who have recently visited China, especially the nation’s second-largest city, Shanghai, you may want to stop reading now.
And for those who thought the horsemeat scandal in the UK was unappetizing, and more than a little disturbing, you may change your tune.
Chinese government officials have exposed a $1 million lamb scam, in which a variety of non-lamb meats have been passed off as mutton. The most common substitute: rat.
Officials found traces of other animal DNA in the “lamb” as well, including fox and mink. The scam was part of a Chinese crime ring which reportedly infiltrated legit supply sources, allegedly leaving vendors without a clue as to what they were selling.
In a strange twist, a recent bird-flu epidemic required a crackdown on local food safety and exposed this scam. Otherwise, it likely would have remained undiscovered for the foreseeable future.
Shanghai Police suggest tourists may have partaken in some of the rat meat if they purchased mutton from local Shanghai farmers markets. That’s just what you want to read or hear after coming home from the land of the great dynasties, isn’t it?
But then again, if you ate it — and loved it — you’d be thrilled to know that delicious dish you enjoyed in Shanghai is readily available locally. Yeah, you can totally eat rat. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.