Chinese restaurant lose $288m after a dead rat was found in hotpot

The rat was found in hot pot broth at a Xiabu Xiabu restaurant in the city of Weifang. Source SCMP

The rat was found in hot pot broth at a Xiabu Xiabu restaurant in the city of Weifang. Source SCMP

The rat was found last week at a branch of the chain, Xiabu Xiabu, in Weifang, a city in the eastern province of Shandong.

The restaurant allegedly offered them 5,000 yuan ($728) in compensation for this incident.

The woman's husband, named as Mr Ma, said restaurant staff had told him: "If you are anxious about the baby, then we'll give you 20,000 yuan to abort it", according to Shanghai-based Kankan News. This revelation caused the offer to be upped to 20,000 yuan so that the woman could get an abortion. "I'm never going to eat hotpot outside again", said one user. "I feel like vomiting".

Another user asked: "If something happens to her baby, how are they going to compensate her?"

Video shows chopsticks dipping into a thick red soup and retrieving the stiff, boiled body of a rat at a restaurant in China on September 6. "Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?" Shares in the company fell by nearly 12.5 per cent, wiping about $264 million off its market value, The New York Times reported. It's a fun, sociable meal popular across China - a country with much regional variation in cuisine - and chains are cropping up alongside mom-and-pop stalls.

In a statement released to South China Morning Post Saturday night, Xiabu Xiabu said it had always placed great emphasis on food security and would make any necessary improvements.

Xiabu Xiabu specializes in hot pot, traditionally a large family meal where various meats, vegetables and other ingredients are cooked at the table by diners in a giant pot of bubbling soup and consumed immediately.

In a statement published on 8 September on Weibo, which has since been deleted, the restaurant chain stated that a preliminary investigation had found that restaurant hygiene or operational reasons were not responsible for the rat ending up in the dish.

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