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Urban legend of Chinese restaurants selling rat meat exposed

A fact check by several respected media outlets has exposed an urban legend being spread on social media that Chinese restaurants sell rat meat to unsuspecting customers.

USA Today is the latest to uncover this lie. Reuters, Lead Stories and Snopes have previously done the same.

In fact Snopes first did it in 2005 and updated its story on this urban legend again in 2014. Yet the myth keeps spreading.

A Facebook post as recent as July stated “a popular Asian/Chinese restaurant bistro in Atlanta was closed down this morning after authorities received a tip that the owner was accepting shipments of rats and mice from a vendor to prepare in his dishes. The owner and his wife were arrested early this morning and charges are not known at this time. After a full search of the kitchen, authorities found, packaged rats, mice, kittens, pups… So Now U KNOW ! Bon Appetite.”

Other posts have made the same claim.

The photo used comes from southfloridarodents.com which sells rat meat for consumption by animals, according to Lead Stories.

“Since your reptile’s health is based on what you feed it, we feed all our animals a scientifically formulated, vet approved rodent diet. All our mice and rats are Vacuum packed for an extended shelf life,” the company’s website states.

Some posts have even attributed the information to the Food and Drug Administration which also confirms the claim is false.

Claims of Chinese eating rat meat in the US go back centuries.

“This rumor is just a hoax playing on familiar old urban legends about Chinese restaurants in the U.S. offering up dishes made from animals such as cats and dogs to horrified Americans,” said Snopes.

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