The Nutritional Content of a Rat

May 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on the Chinese government’s crackdown on a 63+ person crime ring that has spent the past few years selling the citizens of Shanghai and neighboring areas $1.6 million dollars’ worth of lamb that was, in fact, rat.*

Now, the Chinese officials appear to have made this announcement to assure their residents that the problem was being forcefully addressed, and that the government had its eye on this sort of thing, etc, etc. But the effect was to alert anyone in the region who’d eaten lamb in recent history that they probably ate rodent instead, and isn’t that a delightful thought from which there’s really no going back.

I have so many questions. Where did the rats come from? Was nobody suspicious about how very, very tiny their legs of lamb had become? What is the nutritional content of a rat anyway?

The first question I leave to the Chinese government. The second—no, probably not: according to the Daily Mail, at least one vendor was selling the stuff as “lamb rolls,” i.e., not necessarily sheep-shaped at all, which I suggest you try to not think about next time you’re in a mystery meat situation. But as far as nutritional content goes, turns out I’m not the first one who’s ever asked this. Rat calories are in fact, an important point of concern for the conscientious ophidiophile who doesn’t want his snake’s dinner going straight to its not-exactly-waistline. « Read the rest of this entry »

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