A PREGNANT woman found a dead rat in her soup at a branch of a popular Chinese restaurant chain.
She had already eaten some of the hotpot dish before the discovery.
Her husband claims staff then offered to pay for an abortion if the couple were worried about any effects on the health of the unborn baby.
Pictures of the dead rat being fished out of the broth with chopsticks have gone viral in China, wiping £145million off the share price of the Xiabu Xiabu restaurant chain.
The couple say they were first offered 5,000 yuan (£560) compensation at the branch in Weifang, a city in Shandong province. The husband, identified as Mr Ma, declined the offer, saying he wanted his wife to have a full check-up before agreeing on an amount. He then said one of the staff offered him 20,000 yuan to pay for an abortion.
Users of Chinese social media site Weibo reacted with anger and disgust. ‘Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?’ one asked. ‘I feel like vomiting. I’m never going to eat hotpot outside again,’ said another.
The restaurant deleted a statement ‘ruling out’ a lack of hygiene as the cause of the rat ending up in the hotpot. The Weifang branch has closed temporarily and city authorities are carrying out investigations.
Hotpot is a popular dish in China. The hot soup is placed on the table and vegetables and meats are then added to it.