mega-scandal at a private school cafeteria in Chengdu has taken an unexpected turn.
Last week, extremely revolting photos of rotten food and moldy meats went viral across the Chinese internet. The images were allegedly taken by parents inside the kitchen of the Chengdu No 7 High School Development School.
The parents had entered the kitchen after becoming concerned about the quality of the school’s food when their children purportedly started coming down with various ailments. Their suspicions were apparently confirmed by what they found:
The stomach-churning images quickly sparked protests with hundreds of parents storming the gates of the school and clashing with police. Some parents were wrestled to the ground and arrested. Police also appear to have used pepper spray on the protesting parents.
— 良知传媒 (@LiangzhiMedia) March 13, 2019
However, local authorities have now dismissed the disgusting photos of the food as fake. Tests were run on 18 samples of food taken from the school’s cafeteria and only one came back sub-standard, noodles containing mildew.
Meanwhile, three people have been detained for spreading “false information” after police checked surveillance footage from the school cafeteria’s storeroom on the evening of March 12th and found a large group of people forcing their way inside, trampling on food, and taking photos.
In the wake of the scandal, more than 900 students from the school were taken to the hospital for check-ups. Only three were hospitalized (one for acute appendicitis, one for inflamed lymph nodes, and one for acute gastroenteritis) and authorities ruled out the possibility of an outbreak of a food-related disease.
Fake or not, the scandal has at least resulted in the school’s principal being fired. The local government is continuing to carry out an investigation into the matter. Previously, the cafeteria had been named a “model student canteen.”
This wouldn’t be the first time that Chinese parents have managed to sensationalize a scandal. One of the biggest stories of 2017 in China involved parents claiming that teachers at a Beijing private school had been drugging and sexually abusing their children. These claims turned out to be false. Instead, it was discovered that one of the teachers had been pricking kids with sewing needles as punishment for not going to sleep during naptime.