Tilanqiao Subdistrict yesterday cracked down on an unlicensed pork workshop in a protected historic building that processed meat from pigs' heads.
The workshop was run by a family from outside Shanghai that rented a 30-square-meter apartment in Minhang Mansion, previously known as Kakuta Apartment, on Minhang Road, a historic residential building built in 1933, and covertly processed the meat for nearby small restaurants and markets.
The workshop on the ground floor of the building had no business license or food safety certificate. Neighbors complained of smells and noise caused by the processing for three years, said Zhang Qiurong, the Party chief of the neighborhood committee.
"We kept warning and inspecting the workshop, but the owners operated secretly at night and would hide meat and pots whenever the officers went to inspect, Zhang told Shanghai Daily. "We confiscated the tools and materials many times, but they were able to reopen immediately," she added.
The family comprises a young couple with two children and a senior couple. They began processing pig heads in a kitchen near the courtyard at 8pm and carried on till midnight every day, said a resident surnamed Wang. The building has a total of 200 households.
Wang said the family rented the house in 2014 and began the pig-head processing, a "long nightmare" to other residents.
The noise of chopping the pig heads could be heard across the whole building, said Wang, adding "the smell is intolerable and we dare not open the windows, especially in summer," he complained.
However, the business proved popular, Wang said, as workers were often seen making early morning deliveries to nearby wet markets.
Pig-head meat is a popular dish in the Huaiyang cuisine that originated from neighboring Jiangsu Province.
Law enforcement officers yesterday shut down the workshop and confiscated a large refrigerator, weights and large pot, said Zhou Yang, deputy director with the neighborhood management department of the subdistrict.
The food safety watchdog has summoned the workshop owner and the police has begun investigating, he said. The owner would be fined 50,000 yuan (US,365) if any violation against the city's newly revised and strict food safety regulation was found, he added.
Surveillance cameras will be installed in the courtyard and urban management officers will patrol the area to prevent the workshop from reopening again, Zhou said.
The landlord of the apartment has also been warned to better supervise who is allowed to rent. Failure to do so will affect the credit account of the landlord, Zhou said.