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Rat meat passed off as mutton by Chinese miscreants

China crime ring sold over $1 million in the meat of rats and other small animals, passing it off as mutton.

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Rats look for food at the Beaumont Street waterfront in Auckland, New Zealand. (Ross Land/AFP/Getty Images)

A Chinese crime gang has been caught selling over $1 million of "mutton" — which was actually falsely-marketed rat, mink, and even fox meat, masked by the addition of chemicals.

Fake meat was likely sold in Shanghai and in Jiangsu provinces, wrote CBS, and 63 suspects have been arrested in conjunction with the doctored animal flesh — which appears to have been on the market since 2009.

Read more from GlobalPost: Two Chinese girls die after drinking poisoned yogurt

The bust comes as the Chinese government continues a sweeping food-safety crackdown in the wake of new bird flu cases, thought to be caused by coming into close contact with infected poultry and its meat. 

Over 900 people have been arrested in China in the last three months alone for selling fake or tained meats, and over 200,000 tons of fake product has been seized, indicating that the food safety crisis in the Asian nation is showing little sign of letting up. 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged in March to improve food and enviromental safety, reports Bloomberg, claiming that he'd use a "iron fist" to enforce tough new restrictions on these products.

At the same time, food safety was pushed up to the ministry level of government during a restructuring of the bureaucracy-heavy administration.  

“The United States and Europe can’t eradicate these problems either, but they are even more complicated in China,” said Renmin University professor Mao Shoulong to the New York Times of the issue. 

“Chinese food production has become larger scale and more technological, but the problems emerging also involve using more sophisticated technology to beat regulators and cheat consumers,” he said. “The government’s efforts need to catch up with the scale and complexity of the problems.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/130503/rat-meat-passed-mutton-chinese-miscreants