Authorities in China have seized more than 100,000 tons of smuggled chicken, pork and beef products, with some of those meat products being more than 40 years old.

NBC News reported that the meat was recovered by customs officials as part of a massive operation that spanned 14 of the country’s provinces. Twenty suspected gang members involved in the meat smuggling operation were reportedly arrested.

The value of the smuggled meat was estimated at (CNY3 billion) US$483 million, even though a lot of the meat was past its expiration date, and in some cases, dating back to the 1970s. Much of the meat also appeared to have thawed and been refrozen, as it is believed to have been transported in vehicles that were not refrigerated.


It is still not clear where the smuggled meat products originated, or how it had been stored for all of those years.

The meat smuggling operation comes less than one year after another food safety scare in China, where Husi Food Co. was accused of allegedly repackaging expired chicken and beef products and selling them with false expiration dates printed. Those expired products were allegedly sold to a number of restaurant chains in China, including McDonald’s and KFC.