‘Disgusting’: Video of China butcher shop worker deboning raw lamb ribs with mouth in ‘decades-old’ technique sparks food safety debate online

By Fran Lu

Shop worker claims deboning by mouth better than using tools. Officials say clip was promotional stunt, issue health warning. — SCMP

Mainland social media has been left in shock after a butcher’s shop in China posted a video of a male worker deboning raw lamb ribs with his mouth claiming it to be a decades-old technique.

The video, taken in a shop in eastern China’s Anhui province, has raised serious concerns about hygiene for both customers and the employee because raw meat may contain harmful bacteria.

In 2016, the Yunnan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention warned about the risk of infection to dissuade people from eating a traditional dish made using raw and half-cooked meat.

The video shows a shop worker using his mouth and claiming it is a decades-old technique which removes bones quicker than a tool.

Video shows butcher using his mouth on raw meat and claiming the practice is a “decades-old” technique. Photo: Baidu

He adds that a skilled practitioner will not leave traces of saliva.

A member of staff with the local district administration for market regulation told the mainland media outlet Jimu News that the shop had been investigated and that the video was a stunt to attract followers online.

“This is not an ancient technique. No one has deboned raw lamb ribs with their mouth before,” the member of staff said.

The video has sparked an online outcry.

“That is disgusting, not hygienic at all,” one online observer said.

“Parasites in raw meat are a life-threatening risk for the person who debones meat with their mouth. This might be the first time I have worried more about the merchant than myself,” said another on Weibo.

“Saying it is a tradition doesn’t make what he did less disgusting”, said a third.

Some also said it reminded them of previous reports that some Chinese deli processing factories ask their workers to debone chicken feet, a popular snack in China.

A member of staff from a factory which was exposed said it was faster to debone chicken feet using their mouth.

However, associate professor at the College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering, Zhu Yi, told the Beijing News it was impossible to debone chicken feet with the mouth in factories due to the sheer volume of production.

She added that chicken feet sold as deli snacks are rarely boneless and when customers order deboned chicken feet at restaurants, the process was carried out by chefs. – South China Morning Post gggg

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