Tampering with expiry labels on meat products and selling them past their sell-by date is a common practice in Hong Kong’s frozen meat industry, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported Thursday, citing some suppliers.
Dates shown on these labels are meaningless because these are likely to have been changed, one wholesaler was quoted as saying.
Also, there is no way to determine whether these dates are correct.
Sellers use thinner or gummed paper to scrub the label and print over it. Sometimes, they order empty boxes with fresh labels and pack them with expired meat products.
The revelation came as Shanghai authorities deepened their investigation into the sale of stale meat products to certain top western restaurants including McDonald’s and KFC.
Some Hong Kong restaurants have been selling expired meat. To hide discoloration, edible pigments are applied to the meat to make them look fresh, the wholesaler said.
The Center for Food Safety said any tampering with dates on food products without manufacturers’ authorization is illegal. Offenders face a fine of HK$50,000 and six months in jail.
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