TIME China

1,000 Tons of Tainted Meat Seized in South China Including Some ‘Soaked in Bleach’

China seizes 1,000 tonnes of smuggled meat
Stringer—Imaginechina/AP Chinese police officers check cartons of smuggled meat seized during a raid on a boat in Shenzhen, in southern China's Guangdong province, on Sept. 16, 2016

The bust is the latest food-safety scare in China

Police in China’s southern province of Guangdong have seized $12.3 million of potentially hazardous frozen meat including some reportedly soaked in bleach.

Sixteen suspects were detained in the raid late last week, say local police, who uncovered 1,000 tons meat and offal — chiefly from the U.S., Brazil and Thailand — on a vessel near Dangan Island by the city of Shenzhen.

“A criminal gang that used to smuggle frozen meat products, along with marine smuggling channel in Guangdong waters, were busted in the crackdown,” said a police statement, reports the state-backed China Daily newspaper.

Police said some of the haul — including beef cuts, tripe, tongue and chicken wings — had been soaked in bleach in order to clean the meat and increase its weight. A kilogram of beef weighs more than 1.5 kg after soaking in highly toxic bleach, said police, warning that the doctored meat would have “seriously harmed people’s health.”

The bust is the latest food-safety scare in China, where in recent years consumers have faced horrors such as cadmium-laced rice, fake eggs and infant formula contaminated with the toxic chemical melamine.

Food safety now consistently ranks as a top concern for most Chinese, with exasperated netizens calling for tough punishments after this latest scandal, and asking why standards were not being implemented.

“Could we just execute these offenders?” asked one user of China’s Twitter-like microblog Weibo.

“I’ve become numb after so many food-safety issues,” posted another. “As long as I don’t die of poisoning, I don’t care any more. But I just don’t understand, how difficult is it to implement the rule of law?”

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


YOU BROKE TIME.COM!

Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team