World Consumer Rights Day, held every year is on March 15, is usually a bad time for businesses but a good time for savvy shoppers or diners.

This year's biggest put-you-off-your-dinner food safety revelation was that popular hot pot chains Xiabu Xiabu and Little Sheep have been found to be passing off cheap pig blood as duck blood, a popular local hot pot addition. Pig blood is apparently half the price of duck blood on local markets. Bad news for halal diners, bad news for diners in general.

And it doesn't stop there. Duck blood sold from street stalls was also found to contain high levels of formaldehyde, the ingestion of which can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, and in big enough quantities, death. Formaldehyde occurs naturally in some foods such as shiitake mushrooms, but the use of synthetic formaldehyde as a preservative is illegal.

Don't worry, if you happen to call by this week both chains have taken off the product off the menu, but it remains that this is another unwelcome reminder that you can't be too careful what you eat in China, adding duck blood to the long list of other foods you might want to be wary of putting in your face.

More stories by this author here.

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