By Alishba Khaliq
Police during September confiscated 20,000 kilograms of pork meat disguised as beef which was being sold by a factory in Xi’an, capital of the Shaanxi province in northwest China. The incident is particularly scandalous as Xi’an has a large Muslim community, members of which bought the meat believing it to be halal beef.
The factory, raided by Police, treated the pork overnight with chemicals such as paraffin wax and industrial salts to change its appearance and sold it during the day. Between 1500 and 2000kg of meat was sold to local markets for 25-33 yuan (between £3.18 and £4.17) per kilo. Police raided six workshops in total selling the counterfeit meat.
The discovery is one incident in a line of meat-related controversies arising in the country over the course of the year. Between January and May 382 cases of meat related crimes were solved by the Chinese authorities, and the Medical Daily in May reported that 904 people had been arrested in “meat-related offences” during the previous three months. Included in these arrests was a gang who sold rat, fox and mink meat as mutton at farmers’ markets in the Jiangsu and Shanghai provinces, thereby making over 10 million yuan.
Chinese meat suppliers are not however alone in being involved in halal meat related controversies. In November 2011 a South Africa-based meat supplier, Orion Cold Storage Company, was allegedly selling pork products under a halal label. A spokesperson from the SA Meat Industry Company (Samic) stated that imported pork from Ireland and Belgium, buffalo meat from India and kangaroo meat from Australia was being sold by the Cape Town company as halal. Though the company denied the allegations, they accepted that some pork may falsely have been labelled as halal.