Customs officers in Changsha seized smuggled meat products frozen for the past 40 years, Metro Daily reported on Wednesday.
The 800 tons of frozen meat included pork knuckles processed in the 1970s and chicken wings and feet from the 1980s, the newspaper said.
The “vampire” meat products were smuggled into Changsha, the capital of southern China’s Hunan province, via Hong Kong over the past 12 months, before they were distributed to retail outlets under the Red Star Frozen Meat brand, mainland customs authorities said.
The authorities said about one-third of the 800,000 tons of frozen meat imported by Red Star annually could have come from illegal sources.
In June, mainland authorities launched a crackdown on smuggling syndicates, neutralizing at least 21 groups from 14 provinces and confiscating about 100,000 tons of frozen meat estimated to be worth 3 billion yuan (US$483 million).
The seized goods included pork marinated in soy sauce and chicken feet treated with chemicals, which make it hard for consumers to determine the quality of the meat.
Sources who have knowledge of the smuggling operations said the meat products were sourced from various countries before they were shipped in containers to Hong Kong, where they were transported to the borders of China and Vietnam.
The products would then be hand-carried into China in small portions, meaning they would be defrosted and refrozen for a number of times, increasing the chances of bacteria growth, the report said.
– Contact us at [email protected]