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Pair profit from sales of diseased pig meat

By Cai Wenjun (Shanghai Daily)

08:17, May 06, 2013

Mutton slices from a Shanghai wholesale market are being tested by city food safety officials after claims they also contain other kinds of meat.

A P-Shang Dolar Hot Pot outlet in Zhoupu in the city's Nanhui District took mutton off the menu after a TV program had questioned whether its mutton was genuine New Zealand mutton, as advertised.

The program's reporters said they had been tipped off that the hot pot outlet in Wanda Plaza was selling mutton mixed with meat said to be of questionable origin.

The restaurant's manager told reporters that only 60 percent of the mutton, labeled as being from New Zealand, was actually mutton.

The meat slices, the TV program said, came from the Xinpin Wholesale Market on Caobao Road.

A sweep of the market on Friday by officials from the Shanghai Food Safety Office found a large amount of similar so-called New Zealand mutton in a warehouse used by Mulian International Frozen Meat.

There was no production date or list of ingredients.

From delivery notes, officials found that the store had purchased 11 tons of "New Zealand mutton" from Yinyang in east China's Shandong Province in March and that some of it had been sold to well-known hot pot restaurants such as P-Shang, Little Sheep, Dai Mei and Macao Hot Pot, according to the Jiefang Daily newspaper.

Dealers in the market told reporters that mixing mutton with other meat was common practice, as the cost of mixed mutton was much lower than the genuine article. Real mutton cost over 30 yuan (US$4.87) per 500 grams so any mutton sold at less than 20 yuan must have been mixed with other meat like pork and duck, they said.

Selling mixed meat is not against the law, but only if the ingredients pass checks. And sellers must specify on the label what is in the product.

Gu Zhenhua, vice director of the food safety office, said there were safety implications if raw materials hadn't been checked.

He said the food authority's laboratory was testing the mutton to check whether there were other types of meat in it and whether it met national standards.

Mutton, or fake mutton, was in the news last week after the Ministry of Public Security announced details of a police crackdown on a gang involved in producing and selling fake mutton in Shanghai and Wuxi, in neighboring Jiangsu Province.

A suspect is said to have been using meat from foxes, mink and rats from Shandong Province since 2009 to make "mutton" by mixing the meat together with gelatin, salt and coloring. The fake mutton was sold to wet markets in Shanghai and Jiangsu.

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