Hotpot restaurants to get rated

By Chen Xiaoru Source:Global Times Published: 2013-6-27 22:38:01

The Shanghai Cuisine Association will introduce a rating system for hotpot restaurants this year to help customers better choose where to eat, local media reported Thursday.

Although the restaurant trade organization denies that the measure has anything to do with the recent spate of food safety scandals at local hotpot restaurants, the rating system will address some of the practices that got several eateries in hot water, such as reusing cooking oil and serving pork and other meat under the pretext that it was lamb.

The city's hotpot restaurants have seen a drop-off in business in the wake of the much publicized scandals, according to a report in the Shanghai Evening Post.

Even during peak hours, more than half of the tables remain empty at many of the restaurants, the report said.

Problems might have occurred at small hotpot shops in the suburbs, but well-known chains like Little Sheep are above board, said Duan Fugen, the association's secretary-general.

The rating system aims to help the hotpot restaurant sector develop more healthily, Duan said. The system will consider factors such as the restaurant's size, its safety record and the quality of its management. 

"We will also consider whether the stores have used problematic ingredients such as recycled cooking oil or phony lamb when we issue the ratings," Duan told the Global Times.

Earlier this month, the local food safety authority listed a hotpot restaurant on Yandang Road in Huangpu district at the top of its blacklist for preparing food with recycled cooking oil. The restaurant lost its license and its owner was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

In addition, industry and commerce officials discovered in May that several hotpot chains had bought "lamb" from vendors at a wholesale market on Caobao Road that was actually the meat of other animals, according to a recent news report on Shanghai Television Station.

Posted in: Society, Metro Shanghai

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