Student Finds Rat Head in School Lunch, School Insists It’s a Duck

A scandal known as ‘Rat Head Gate’ has been getting a lot of attention on Chinese social media after a student found what looks like a rat head in their cafeteria meal. The school claims it’s actually a duck head.

The incident reportedly occurred last week at the cafeteria of the Jiangxi Vocational Technical College of Industry Trade in Nanchang, China. While eating their lunch, a student found what looked like a rat’s head in their bowl of rice and pulled out their phone to record the discovery. They then confronted the cafeteria staff about it but were told that it wasn’t a rat’s head, but a duck’s head. The latter, along with duck necks are an important part of Chinese cuisine, but it wasn’t what the student had ordered, and it certainly didn’t look like a duck…

“This is a rat! It clearly has rat teeth, can’t you see?” the student can be heard telling the cafeteria staff.

The video quickly spread on Chinese social media, but the school doubled down on the version that the head found by the student actually belonged to a duck. On June 3rd, the Jiangxi Vocational Technical College put out an official statement debunking the ‘rat head’ rumors that had begun going around the school insisting that it had been a weird-looking duck head. The very next day, the local food supervision bureau also commented on the case, alleging that it had indeed been a duck head.

As the rumors kept spreading, school officials warned students not to discuss the incident online anymore, and the official catering company contracted by the school issued its own statement, claiming that the head had not been discovered in food it had delivered, but had in fact come from a separate cafeteria stall. The company also warned anyone spreading rumors about it of serious consequences.

But despite all efforts to cover up the incident, Rat Head Gate has been getting more and more traction online, with people from all walks of life declaring their disappointment with both the school and the local authorities supporting its lies. It’s one thing to find a rat’s head in the food, but it was the way they insisted that it wasn’t what it seemed that truly shocked people.

“Discovering a rat head while eating is not [even] the scariest part,” one Chinese blogger wrote. “What is truly frightening is that the public clearly sees a ‘rat head,’ yet they insist on claiming it to be a ‘duck neck’. If it’s really a rat head, it would be better to calmly admit it. At most, this would be a food safety incident and one or two temporary workers might get sacked and a fine could be imposed, and that would be it.”

“The way that the school and the food supervision bureau have handled this matter is in complete opposition to the public and it is a provocation of social morality, completely inverting right and wrong and disregarding public trust in order to protect the ‘innocence’ of one or two individuals. I wonder if these leaders are actually so stupid or if netizens are too naive,” the blogger added.

Meanwhile, microblogging platforms like Weibo have been inundated with photos of rat and duck skulls to show that they look nothing alike, from the shape to the teeth, as well as digitally-altered photos of ducks with rat heads.