A citywide inspection has been launched in Hejian, the "home of the donkey burger" in Hebei province, after the discovery of hundreds of workshops making and selling fake donkey meat.
The city government announced the crackdown after an investigation by Beijing News found that many family businesses and companies have been using cheap cuts from mules, horses and pigs to make illegal products.
Restaurants and other businesses nationwide have been snapping up the fake meat at a cost of about 40 yuan (S$8.20) a kilogram, less than half the price of real donkey meat, the paper reported.
Located about 200 kilometers south of Beijing, Hejian is famous for lyurou huoshao, a traditional snack of ground donkey meat in a baked wheat bun. The city is also a major source of donkey meat, particularly in northern China.
Yet much of the donkey meat is not real. In fact, it’s made from the meat of mules, horses and even pigs, which is cooked together with food additives to make the meat smell like donkey, according to the Beijing News report.
Out of Hejian’s more than 300 family workshops, only a few have business licenses, and even some of them are producing fake donkey meat to ship to Beijing as well as Hebei, Henan, Shandong and Anhui provinces, the paper said.