Seven people have been held in China for allegedly injecting dirty pond water into lamb meat in a bid to swell its weight and raise the price, state television reported.
The suspects slaughtered up to 100 sheep per day at an illegal warehouse and sold the bacteria-ridden meat at markets, food stalls and restaurants in major cities including Guangzhou and Foshan, China Central Television added.
Each sheep was reportedly pumped with up to 13 pounds of water just after being slaughtered to add extra weight.
China has been hit by a number of food safety scandals recently, including deadly chemical-laced dairy products to recycled "gutter oil" used for cooking.
Last week, the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc apologised after a Chinese supplier of donkey meat snacks was found to have mixed fox meat into the product.