Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Restaurant chain lost £145m in value after dead rat found in soup

Restaurant chain lost £145m in value after dead rat found in soup

The local market supervision authority has launched an investigation into the incident and the outlet where the rat was discovered has been shut down.

Mr. Ma was concerned for his expectant wife - and has taken her to get checked over to be sure her and the baby are okay - after eating the rat-tainted soup.

"If you are anxious about the baby, then we'll give you 20,000 yuan ($3,000) to abort it", Mr Ma says the staff told him. The staff at the restaurant allegedly offered the couple 20,000 yuan, which is $3,000 United States dollars, for them to have an abortion if they were concerned for the child's health.

Many were shocked and disgusted by this story - grossed out by the photos that circulated on Weibo. "I'm never going to eat hotpot outside again", said one user. Others were upset about the staff offering money for an abortion.

Ma said he and his wife went to the hospital where she had a checkup to ensure the baby was healthy. "Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?" one person said.

Xiabu Xiabu Catering Management, the chain's parent company plummeted in value after the incident.

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Xiabu Xiabu released a statement on Saturday night saying that it valued food security and would make improvements.

Health officials investigated the restaurant, but found no traces of rats. Shares in the company fell by nearly 12.5 per cent, wiping about $264 million off its market value, The New York Times reported.

According to a report from Chinese outlet Kanka News, the market value of Xiabu Xiabu has been on a downward trend since August.

Though hotpot has gained in popularity in recent years, customers across China have complained about questionable hygiene standards at hotpot chains, particularly over restaurants reusing hotpot broth with new customers.

Typical ingredients in hotpots include thinly sliced meat, tofu, vegetables and seafood.

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