Want Fries With That Lamb? Er, I Mean, Rat

I've never been an adventurous eater.  To me, trying tilapia was about as far as I was willing to go (hey, it has a weird name). But The New York Times every week has all these exotic recipes calling for things like tofu fingers, pancakes made with spinach, ice cream with eggs. Pork with lemon, ginger, citronelle (isn't that for mosquitoes? Oh wait, that's citronella.)

But in China this week, gourmet eaters may have gotten the biggest surprise of their lives when they found out the lamb they thought they were eating was . . .well, rat.

But China didn't take this sitting down (at least, to a meal of rat). "... China's top court on Friday issued guidelines calling for harsher punishment for making and selling unsafe food products in the latest response to tainted food scandals that have angered the public," the AP reported, according to the NYT. "The Supreme People's Court said the guidelines will list as crimes specific acts such as the sale of food excessively laced with chemicals or made from animals that have died from disease or unknown causes."
According to the story, 63 people who "allegedly ran an operation in Shanghai and the coastal city of Wuxi that bought fox, mink, rat and other meat that had not been tested for quality and safety, processed it with additives like gelatin and passed it off as lamb" were arrested.
But these folks were not alone. Since January the police have reportedly arrested almost 1,000 people suspected of selling "fake, diseased, toxic or adulterated meat," the NYT's Chris Buckley writes.
Though no one's been suspected of doing things quite like that, we do have our own food safety problems in this country. The Daily Beast notes that 3,000 people die a year and 130,000 others are hospitalized for food-borne illnesses. And with the sequestration passed by Congress this year, and the number of food inspectors declining, you can probably expect much more.  



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