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Yangzhou stripped of fried rice record after waste scandal

(Xinhua)    17:50, October 26, 2015

NANJING, Oct. 26-- A group of 300 people who cooked four tonnes of fried rice in Yangzhou failed to break the world record because some of the food was wasted, Guinness World Records Ltd. confirmed on Monday.

"We held back on the results because we were reviewing the information submitted by the organizers," Sharon Yang, Guinness Greater China marketing director, told Xinhua.

"They admitted that 150 kilograms of the rice was improperly disposed of. Products created in any record attempt involving food must be eaten and not wasted. We have notified the organizers that the record will not stand," she said.

This decision came after reports that the rice was used as pig feed.

This year is the 2,500th anniversary of Yangzhou in the eastern province of Jiangsu and as part of the celebrations, 300 people spent four hours last Friday cooking 4.19 tonnes of Yangzhou fried rice.

The fried rice, flavored with sea cucumber and other ingredients, reportedly broke the previous record, which had been held by Turkey.

The organizers had said that the rice would be distributed to students of four schools, but an unnamed Yangzhou tourism bureau official told Xinhua that 150 kilograms of rice was not distributed because it had been stored for more than four hours and was unsuitable for people to eat.

The event, reportedly costing 140,000 yuan (about 22,000 U.S. dollars), was widely discussed when pictures circulated online showing several people standing in the huge bowl, shoveling the rice into a truck.

"It is a shame to waste grain and give the rice to pigs. Do you know how many people in the mountains don't have enough rice to eat?" an angry "Weiaitanjie122725" posted on Sina Weibo.

"What is the point in such records?" asked another nicknamed Namuheng.

The outspoken Southern Metropolis Daily ran an editorial,"Behind the waste lies a restless social mentality".

"Even if the fried rice won Yangzhou glory of breaking a world record, it exposed the problem that, when driven by profits, people can easily be morally compromised and give up such virtues as thrift," it said.

"To gain popularity for Yangzhou fried rice, one should take down-to-earth measures, tighten quality inspections and improve operations," it added. "As for the Guinness record, it should be for things with a practical value."

However, Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociology professor with Renmin University of China, described the event as a purely a commercial stunt which should be exempt from moralizing, as long as it is legal.

"Since China is promoting the rule of law, I don't think even the media should call this a controversial issue given that the company broke no law," said Zhou

Sharon Yang from Guinness noted that they "take into consideration moral, traditional and religious elements" when approving a record.

"We never accept applications that are against moral standards," she said. "On average, we receive about 1,000 applications a week, among which 95 percent are declined."

The Yangzhou tourism bureau admitted to carelessness that resulted in some rice being unfit for human consumption.

"We accept the criticism, and request for your continued support to our traditional food," said an official.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Wang Ao,Bianji)

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