Extremely old chicken feet were sold as fresh in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of southern China.
Police recovered nearly 20 tons of chicken feet from 1967. The food is often smuggled into the country illegally, as most regard them as waste. China receives chicken parts, including feet, from other countries including the U.S.
The parts are transported with other foods, like fruit and vegetables, and are usually frozen before they are shipped. Sometimes the feet are bleached or soaked in hydrogen peroxide to enhance their appearance.
Guangzi authorities recovered $3 million worth of illegally smuggled chicken feet in the past seven years. Often, the food's quality has been questioned, but it wasn't until now that the feet were proven to be unsafe.
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The chicken feet they found was stamped in 1967. They were found during a raid on an underground market which was reported for providing questionable tripe, throat and chicken feet to Chinese food markets. Many of the other food products were also outdated.
Li Jianmin, a security chief, said they likely treat the feet with many chemicals to "kill bacteria, prolong the expiry date and make them appear white and big."
The people who raided the facility said the filth and odor was overpowering, and the chemicals used on the feet did not overpower the smell.
While they were relieved to have confiscated the 1967 chicken feet, they warned that these types of incidents will continue to happen as smugglers find different ways to transport the chicken across the border.