Since April, more than 100,000 tonnes (t) of meat has been seized, including chicken wings, beef and pork, state news agency Xinhua said. It is part of a campaign by Beijing to shake off China’s reputation for safety scandals, which include baby formula contaminated with melamine that killed six infants in 2008.
In the latest discoveries, 20 people were arrested in Hunan province, where 800t of frozen meat was discovered. Customs officials found some of the meat was more than 40 years old, while other parts were rotten and decomposing, the China Daily newspaper said.
While frozen meat can last a long time, smuggled meat is often stored poorly and can be thawed and refrozen numerous times, causing considerable risk to consumers. China Daily said hundreds of thousands of tonnes of beef is being smuggled into China via Hong Kong and Vietnam, from countries such as Brazil and India.