Rat in soup wipes $190m off Chinese restaurant chain’s value

Shares in Xiabu Xiabu plunged by 12% after reports of the animal emerged

China rat
(Image credit: Weibo)

A restaurant chain in China lost $190m (£145m) in market value after images of a pregnant woman finding a dead rat in her meal were uploaded on the internet.

Restaurant Xiabu Xiabu’s stock “hit its lowest level in almost a year, after photos of the dead rat being fished out of the broth with a pair of chopsticks quickly spread online”, says the BBC.

In all, the discovery of the rat “had knocked about $190 million off the market value of the business, which is publicly traded in Hong Kong”, reports The New York Times.

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Xiabu Xiabu specialises in hot pot, “traditionally a large family meal where various meats, vegetables and other ingredients are cooked at the table by diners in a giant pot of bubbling soup and consumed immediately”, says The Daily Telegraph.

According to the Asia One news website, the woman who found the dead rat in her hot pot had already taken a few mouthfuls.

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Local news site Kankan News quoted her husband as saying restaurant staff had told him: “If you are worried about the baby, then we'll give you 20,000 yuan (£2,236) to abort it.”

Xiabu Xiabu said in a statement on 8 September that it had “always placed great emphasis on food security and would make any necessary improvements”.

After the incident the local market supervision bureau dispatched personnel to check the restaurant. No traces of rats were found, though the branch was ordered to suspend services.

But authorities said that the restaurant had committed other violations relating to stagnant water and purchasing food from unlicensed suppliers.

Kankan News said Xiabu Xiabu also reportedly offered the pregnant woman 5,000 yuan (£559) as compensation.

But according to Kankan News, the husband declined the offer, as he wanted his wife and unborn baby to undergo a full medical check-up before deciding on a compensation amount.

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