Police in China have launched an investigation after a batch of “fake” pigs’ ears were discovered, in yet another food safety scare in the country.

The bogus ears were discovered in a market in Ganzhou city in the eastern province of Jiangxi in late March after a customer complained of a strange smell when cooking them.

Food safety officials tested the “ears” and found they had been made from gelatin and the chemical sodium oleate, commonly used in the production of soap.

China’s government has repeatedly vowed to improve food safety as people grow increasingly alarmed about the quality of what they eat, but scandals still occur due to weak enforcement and unscrupulous business practices.

The China Daily quoted an expert as giving a sure-fire method for telling real ears – a popular delicacy – from fake, saying the genuine article should have hair and small blood vessels.

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