Provincial authorities in Jiangxi province, China, have concluded that the strange object found in a college student’s meal was indeed a rat’s head after social media users accused officials of covering up a food safety scandal.
Key details: The scandal began on June 1 when a student from Jiangxi Industry Polytechnic College in Nanchang posted a video on Chinese social media complaining about an object he found in his school meal that seemed to resemble the severed head of a rat.
The student got into an exchange with a female canteen staff who insisted that what he found in his meal was not a rat’s head but a duck’s neck, despite his pointing out the teeth.
Looking into the matter: The college launched an investigation into the matter on June 3, confirming in a statement that the video was filmed in the school but that the object was not a rodent’s head. It even went on to state that the student allegedly invited his other classmates to check the object and that they all purportedly confirmed it was a duck neck.
Jiang Xiexue, director of the market supervision bureau’s Changdong branch, reiterated the findings while speaking to Jiangxi Radio and Television Station that same day.
Not buying it: Some social media users did not believe explanation given, with others reportedly making memes about the situation and accusing officials of a “cover-up.”
“In ancient times we have ‘calling a deer a horse.’ Now we have ‘calling a rat a duck,’” a Weibo user wrote in their post.
The aftermath: After mounting criticism, the local government launched an investigation on June 10. Although surveillance video showed the canteen’s staff throwing away the object on the same day the student complained, experts who examined video and photos of the object determined it was a rat’s head.
Local authorities subsequently revoked the canteen’s food business license and gave the company operating it the maximum penalty under China’s food safety laws. The local government also stated that the college will face punishment as well for its lack of diligent investigation.