This is officially the year of fake meat in China. The Shanghai Daily reports that a man named Wang is accusing a Wal-Mart in northern China of passing off fox meat as donkey meat. Whereas donkey meat is a regional delicacy, fox meat poses a health risk to humans because of the potential presence of parasites.
Wang—who had the 1,600 packets of donkey meat he purchased tested because he “though it tasted strange”—is asking for compensation worth 10 times the amount he paid for the meat, citing China’s Food Safety Law.
The donkey meat manufacturer are refusing to compensate Wang, says The Shanghai Daily, citing possible extortion efforts. Quartz reached out to Walmart for comment, but the company has yet to respond.
“As rising disposable incomes have boosted demand, prices for popular meat like beef, mutton and even donkey have soared in recent years. Selling undesirable (and cheaper) meat under these names can therefore boost profits enormously.”
At the same time, the Chinese demand for fur garments is on the rise—its fur processing industry now generates around 20% of the global fur market. Fox pelts are in high demand, and the leftover meat is cheap and plentiful.
Fox meat sells for between 2 and 6 yuan per kilogram ($0.72-2.16 per pound), which is cheaper than donkey meat. This is probably thanks to the growing market for products that disguise unappetizing meat flavor, reports Quartz. One example is Guangzhou Guibao Food Company’s “Fish-Smell Removal King,” which also aims to obscure the taste of badger, civet, raccoon and mink.
This is good for fox breeders, but bad for consumers. According to a Chinese media report, fox meat poses a health risk to humans, potentially because of parasites. Also, fur garment processing on the animals involves a heavy dose of chemicals.
[via Quartz, The Shanghai Daily]
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