Smugglers Caught Hawking 40-Year-Old Frozen Meat

Police broke up a gang of meat smugglers

Customs officials in China uncovered a smuggling operation with frozen meat from the 1970s. 

Customs authorities in China just busted up one of the biggest meat-smuggling rings ever, and it had evidently been going on for some time, because some of the meat was over 40 years old.

Shanghaiist says authorities in Changsha, in Hunan province, have seized more than three billion yuan, or $483 million, of illegal frozen meat smuggled in through Hong Kong. That sounds like a lot for some meat that is long past its sell-by date, but customs officials say the most recent bust netted more than 880 tons of frozen beef, chicken, and duck.

Authorities suspect some of the illicitly imported meat came from sick animals or animals not fit for human consumption, while investigators say some of the packaging in the recent bust indicated the meat was packed up in the 1970s, making it well over 40 years old. Much of it was rotting, as smugglers would reportedly just re-freeze the packages every time they started to thaw.


Shanghaiist reports that the meat was smuggled into China from Hong Kong, and it was delivered to markets and restaurants.