Just when you thought that the resale of meat dating from the 1970s couldn't be topped as the world's nastiest food scam, along comes another debacle that will both turn your stomach and put you off shrimp, at least through the end of the day.
Spoiler alert: This story involves backwash from the sewers of Wuhan, China. And toilets. And super grimy bathroom floors.
According to a Chinese publication called NetEase, vendors in Wuhan have been selling shrimp balls that are made from the most unsavory of seafood, processed in pretty much the most nauseating way possible.
The travesty begins when some of the shrimp that are handled in the markets of Baishizhou ended up in local sewers during cleaning and packaging. Scavenging seafood vendors have been scooping up these discarded sewer shrimp and—in order to make a fast renminbi—taking them to nearby public toilets. There, literally in the toilets, they sort the shrimp. Then, they use the dirty floor as a prep area where they combine the scavenged shrimp with other fish and form them into balls to be cooked and sold nearby—to the unsuspecting public. By adding other ingredients and turning the bathroom bounty into shrimp balls, the vendors are able to better mask the suspect origin of the sewer seafood.
Photo via Weibo user Metropolis Daily
Some yet-to-be-revealed person managed to photograph a seafood vendor allegedly acting out the entire nauseating procedure. As of now, there's no word on how widespread the practice is or if those outed have been met with any sort of punitive measures.
China has long been plagued by countless food scandals, and shrimp appear to be a recurring favorite in this tales. There have been gelatin-filled shrimp, and who can forget that old favorite, the shrimp contaminated with toxic chemicals?
This is all pretty fucked—but, on further reflection, it could be the basis for a good children's cartoon. Oh wait, someone's already exploited sewers and mutating turtles for their innate entertainment value.
Oh well, maybe a chef in Brittany will come across some radioactive snails with a penchant for crime-fighting. Now that would be something worth immortalizing via cartoon.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.