The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are concerned over an estimated one million pounds of counterfeit rat meat being sold as chicken wings that have made its way into fast food restaurants and grocery stores in America.
The FDA say they have found several containers originating from China seized by customs in San Fransisco, that contained rat meat destined to various meat processing plants across the U.S. and resold as chicken.
FBI coordinator, Allen James has said that counterfeit meat is big business across the world.
“Every year a similar situation arises. Last year we seized large quantities of opossum meat coming from Mexico,” he said. “Criminal organizations see the Super Bowl as a period to cash in on different manners, be it illegal bets or gambling but also counterfeit meat. Where there is a way to make money, there will always be people who will try to find a way to bypass the law and make some profit”.
FDA spokesman Jenny Brookside has said that there is no way for the public to tell whether their chicken wings are actually rat meat.
“Unfortunately, it is too late for the produce that has already been sold on the market. It is up to consumers to try to identify the quality and source of the meat that is packaged, but there is no absolute way of determining for 100% if the meat in your plate is chicken or rat” she warned.
“If you find that your chicken wings taste slightly different from usual, it is a good bet that they might be counterfeit meat, but this can be easily hidden through the use of different ingredients and spices”.
An estimated 36 million pounds of illegal counterfeit meat is sold in the United States each year according to a 2014 FDA study.