Published July 08, 2013
Police in China discovered decades-old chicken feet, beef tripe, and cartilage when they raided an illegal food storage site in the Guangxi region.
Twenty tons of meat -- some dating back as far as 1967 -- was apparently smuggled by a gang into China from Vietnam, according to the Chinese news agency, Xinhua.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, the chicken feet were brought into China frozen, and then processed with bleach and other chemicals to add weight and improve color. By increasing the weight, the gang was able to turn about 2.2 pounds into more than 3 pounds of seemingly fresh chicken feet, and make thousands of dollars.
Over the last year, Chinese police investigated seven similar cases of smuggled chicken feet, seizing more than $3.2 million in tampered products. When they busted the Guangxi operation in May, the facility was rancid.
"The entire processing facility had a fishy and foul smell," Li Jianmin, from the local Public Security Bureau, told Xinhua. "You just couldn't stand it after one or two minutes."
Illegal imports of bear paws are also booming in Asia. Last year, authorities confiscated 141 smuggled bear paws in just one raid. The paws were also rotten and foul-smelling, but restaurants would cook the paws to mask the odor.
Two Russians were arrested in May in Inner Mongolia, while attempting to smuggle 213 bear paws into China worth more than $456,000.