San Francisco, CA – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an alert about an estimated 1 million pounds of black market “rat meat” that has slipped passed customs and currently being sold as chicken wings in stores across America.
Yesterday morning, FDA inspectors, were called to the Port of San Francisco and Port of New York and New Jersey, after several shipping containers originating from China were randomly inspected. The containers were seized by customs at the ports and were found to contain raw rodent meat with shipping manifest indicating the meat was to be distributed to warehouses across American and restocked and sold as chicken wings.
According to reports, customs received 53 other containers from the same origin of shipping however, overlooked the containers because they were from a “recognized” source. What assisted customs in their findings was a random search conducted after they had received reports of a container full of Michael Kors, Gucci, and other high end brands being shipped into the port, originating from China. Given the 1 Million pounds of rat meat found by authorities, the FDA warns that an estimated 1 to 2 million pounds of rat meat may have hit the shelves of grocery stores and restaurants.
“The Super Bowl is one of the highest grossing periods for restaurants and grocery stores because chicken wings, along with other finger foods, are in high demand. Because of the high demand, it’s an opportune time for black market meat to easily slip pass the cracks,” explains FDA inspector, Julian Dodd. “Rat meat is not harmful as long as it is properly prepared prior to human consumption however it is illegal to import and sale the rat meat as a consumer product,” he adds.
A Multi-Million Dollar Industry
Black market meat sold as chicken wings, among other desirable meats, is a big business, according to Richard Pole, FBI coordinator.
“China, Mexico, among other nations account for over 60 million pounds of black market meat each year. Every year a similar situation arises. Last year we seized large quantities of opossum meat from Mexico right before Easter,” he explains. “Black market distributors find opportunity in the gullible American consumer around holidays and certain major sporting events. As long as consumers continue the demand for the real thing, criminals will find a way to deceive Americans with black market meat. It accounts for over $300 Million each year in profit from compile data we have,” said Pole.
“As of now, it is up to the consumer to properly inspect their meat. There is no way for us to stop what has already passed our ports and into the hands of American citizens. All we can do is warn everyone to be on alert,” said Julian Dodd