Restaurant Chain Offers to Pay For Woman's Abortion After She Finds Dead Rat in Her Soup

A restaurant chain in China had $190 million wiped off its value after a pregnant woman eating in one of its branches found a dead rat in her hot pot soup.

The unnamed woman was out for a meal on September 6 in Weifang city, Shandong Province when she found the rodent in her hot pot broth at a branch of the restaurant chain Xiabu Xiabu.

The outlet initially offered her compensation of 5,000 yuan ($729). But her husband, identified as Mr Ma, insisted she have a medical check-up first, Kankan News reported, according to the South China Morning Post.

He alleged that one staff member had offered 20,000 yuan ($2,900) for an abortion if she was concerned about the baby's health. The outlet has temporarily been shut down pending an investigation.

Images of the dead rat, which was hairless with legs outstretched between a pair of chopsticks, went viral on the Chinese social media site Weibo. Shares of the the restaurant chain plunged 12 percent, its lowest level for nearly a year.

It wiped $190 million off its market value in only a few days. By Wednesday the share prices were starting to recover.

One Twitter user wrote: "Omg. My worst nightmare." Another wrote: "Talk about wonton disregard for life and health."

In a statement on Saturday, Xiabu Xiabu said it was not a lack of hygiene that caused the incident but this was later deleted. It added that it had always placed great emphasis on food security and would make any improvements needed.

An inspection did not find traces of rat but there was accumulated water in the food processing areas and some of its vegetable suppliers did not have full qualifications, the South China Morning Post reported.

Xiabu Xiabu opened in 1998 and has 759 stores in China, with many in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and other provinces. Hotpot is a popular meal in China, where diners add meat and vegetables to a soup simmering at their table.

Authorities in China have responded to a number of complaints recently about hygiene at restaurants. In May the chain Xiaolongkan shut down three restaurants after media exposure that they were reusing cooking oil and leftover food from tables.

Last year there were reports of rats and rotten food at the Haidilao chain, which has offered a live-stream video feed from their kitchens so customers can see how their food was being prepared, the SCMP reported.

Restaurant Chain Offers to Pay For Woman's Abortion After She Finds Dead Rat in Her Soup | World