Chinese police have broken a crime ring that passed off more than $1 million in rat and small mammal meat as mutton as another meat scandal breaks.
Authorities have arrested 904 suspects since the end of January for selling and producing fake or tainted meat products, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement posted on its website on Thursday.
During the crackdown, police discovered one suspect surnamed Wei who had used additives to spice up and sell rat, fox and mink meat at markets in Shanghai and Jiangsu province.
Police arrested 63 suspects connected to the crime ring in a case valued at more than 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) in sales since 2009.
Despite persistent efforts by police, “food safety crimes are still prominent, and new situations are emerging with new characteristics”, the ministry’s statement said, citing “responsible officials”.
Police confiscated more than 20,000 tonnes of fake or inferior meat products after breaking up illegal food plants during the nationwide operation, the ministry said.
Food safety and environmental pollution are chronic problems in China and public anxiety over cases of fake or toxic food often spreads quickly.