Hopefully you are not eating as you read this, because this weird news item is enough to make you puke up your beef and broccoli lunch special. Authorities in China announced that they have confiscated 100,000 pounds of illegally smuggled meat from 14 different gangs that intended to sell it to the public.
China has recently made an effort to crack down on food safety and this story is one of the most horrific examples of why regulations are needed. Some of the containers of food they discovered being transported by the gangs were at least 40 years old with date stamps from the 1970’s.
Some of the illegal shipments may have already made their way to restaurants and supermarkets. The shipments of old meat worth around $480 million dollars avoided inspections and were sent through Hong Kong and Vietnam before making their way into mainland China. Luckily inspectors spotted the rancid meat that was created at a time when Chairman Mao Zedong was still the leader of China. One inspector was hit with the powerful stench of four decade old meat;
“I nearly threw up when I opened the door.”
Someone might have eaten from a package of frozen meat that was older than they are. Well it was frozen, what’s so bad about 40 year old frozen meat? To quote a lady from an episode of TV’s Hoarders when asked if she wanted to throw out an expired food item; “It ain’t got no claw marks in it yet do it?”
"Meat from the 70's? That was a good decade for meat; let me clear a space and lets heat it up!"
Turns out the smugglers transport the meat in unrefrigerated trucks to save money and then re-freeze the meat. This lets it thaw out creating conditions that will grow dangerous bacteria and viruses. Once it is refrozen and sold to distributors and venders over the internet, nobody knows that the meat is that old.
What I want to know is, who has been hauling around this meat around China for 40 years, freezing it and unfreezing it? Did they just find some really, really old meat in the back of the fridge and decide to sell it? Who would order some of this meat and be like “yeah, sure let’s throw that on the grill! Smells good!”
Follow Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney