Officers of the HCMC Department of Animal Health inspect the butcher shop in District 3. Photo: Ma Phong
It is true when some people say you hardly ever know exactly what you are eating when you are eating in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City authorities on Wednesday confiscated a large amount of pork that was soaked in loads of chemicals to look like beef from a local butcher shop.
Officers of the HCMC Department of Animal Health inspected the shop of Binh Hanh Company in District 3 and caught its employees dunking 110 kilograms of pork into a mixture of cow blood and chemicals.
They also found 1,180 kilograms of pork stored in the shop, waiting to be “processed” into "beef." Another 755 kilograms of “beef” were ready to be sold.
Pork is soaked into a mixture of cow blood and sodium metabisulfite.
The officers also found 1.7 kilograms of unlabeled chemicals in the shop.
Nguyen Xuan Binh, the shop owner, told the officers he bought the pork in Dong Nai Province and soaked the meat into a mixture of cow blood and sodium metabisulfite, which he bought at Kim Bien Market in HCMC.
The pork would be then labeled as beef and sold at VND130,000-150,000 (US$5.8-6.7) per kilogram, allowing the shop to earn up to 50 percent more.
The HCMC Department of Animal Health ordered Binh to destroy all the meat. Samples of the fake beef and the chemicals are being tested.
Huynh Tan Phat, deputy chief of the department, said sodium metabisulfite – used as a disinfectant, antioxidant and preservative agent – is banned in meat processing.