When buying a bargain Chanel handbag from a neighborhood market, one generally assumes there's a good chance it's a fake. One does not normally wonder the same thing about one's groceries, but there's a thriving underground market in the sale and production of ersatz foods, from Jamaica's Blue Mountain coffee beans to even things like eggs and beef. This week, police in Xi'an reported that they had found and seized more than 22 tons of fake beef at a local factory.
The fake beef was actually made from pork. Pork is cheaper and more easily produced than beef, but apparently it can be made to look and taste exactly like beef. Police say the confiscated meat had been treated with chemicals including paraffin wax and industrial salts to make it look like beef. The factory making it had sold more than 3,000 pounds of the fake beef to local markets at 25 to 33 yuan ($4 or $5), according to Shanghaiist.
Police say they shut down six separate workshops devoted to treating pork to make it look like beef, and the phony meat has been seized.
Xi'an has a large Muslim community, and the news of pork being passed off as beef has some people worried that they may have accidentally consumed meat from a forbidden animal.