Rat Wipes $190M Off Restaurant Chain's Value

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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 well-known chain, Xiabu Xiabu, was closed for an investigation by health officials after the incident occurred and stock hit the lowest level in nearly a year after news spread, the BBC reports.

The local market supervision authority has launched an investigation into the incident and the outlet where the rat was discovered has been shut down.

It also reportedly offered the couple a 5,000 yuan compensation.

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The husband, identified only as Mr. Ma by local outlet Kankan News, said a staffer had the gall to say his wife should get an abortion if she was anxious about the baby, offering over $2,000 for the procedure.

The woman, identified only as Ms Gao, was having dinner with her husband Mr Ma at a Xiabu Xiabu restaurant in Weifang City last week. The staff at the restaurant allegedly offered the couple 20,000 yuan, which is $3,000 USA dollars, for them to have an abortion if they were concerned for the child's health.

"I feel like vomiting", wrote one person. Some users said that they would never eat there ever again.

At hotpot restaurants in China, most of the ingredients are relatively affordable. "I can't believe this", another commented.

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Another shocked user said: "If something happens to her baby how are they going to compensate her? Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?" one asked.

Xiabu Xiabu initially released a statement Saturday night saying that it had "ruled out the possibility that an unhygienic environment has caused the rat to appear", but that statement was later deleted.

Health officials investigated the restaurant, but found no traces of rats. It's a fun, sociable meal popular across China - a country with much regional variation in cuisine - and chains are cropping up alongside mom-and-pop stalls.

Xiabu Xiabu specializes in hot pot, traditionally a large family meal where various meats, vegetables and other ingredients are cooked at the table by diners in a giant pot of bubbling soup and consumed immediately.

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