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August 12, 2011

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Suspected needle in pork at eatery

A photo was uploaded online by a diner, showing an apparent syringe needle stuck inside a pork knuckle, a signature dish served at a famous local Cantonese restaurant.

The image suggests a link to a notorious underground practice by pork sellers in China, who inject water into meat to make them appear juicy and weightier. The restaurant operator said yesterday an investigation was under way.

The illegal practice is thought to be widespread in China and is the focus of a crackdown by watchdogs.

The diner discovered the object when eating at the Xinwang Restaurant inside Infinity Plaza, an upscale commercial and office building on downtown Huaihai Road on Tuesday evening, a store worker told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

The customer, whose online name is Jingrantongxie, uploaded the photo to, China's leading microblog website, which quickly stirred up discussions over food safety at eateries and raised media attention.

The chain restaurant featuring original Cantonese cuisines is famous in town. And the involved outlet is also popular among diners. It has received a four-star rating on a five-level system, based on nearly 11,000 comments from diners, on a leading restaurant-appraisal website,

The restaurant management said yesterday they were alerted to the incident and had already launched an effort to find out where the object came from. They said they also were considering making compensation to the diner.

"The managers reinforced that we must pay closer attention to kitchen and restaurant sanitation and watch out for any food safety loopholes much more carefully," said an attendant yesterday.

"We couldn't understand how that needle-like thing came into the pig trotter. The staff were all confused and waiting for the result of the management's investigation," she said.

Despite the crisis, the restaurant was still up to 80 percent full about 2pm yesterday, a reporter found. Workers said the business was not affected, though news of the shocking discovery spread quickly online.


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