Sickening discovery in meal costs restaurant chain millions

Chinese restaurant lose $288m after a dead rat was found in hotpot

Pregnant woman finds rat in hotpot, allegedly offered $4,000 to abort child

The outlet reportedly offered her 5,000 yuan (£559, $729) as compensation.

Officials shut down the restaurant temporarily to inspect the premises, finding "no trace" of rats at the scene but singled out other problems such as an accumulation of water on the floor in a food preparation area.

Xiabu Xiabu's market value dropped to its lowest level in nearly a year as pictures of the dead rat being fished out of a broth were circulated on social media.

The rat was found last week at a branch of the chain, Xiabu Xiabu, in Weifang, a city in the eastern province of Shandong.

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's husband, Mr Ma, said he alerted restaurant staff to the situation and was offered cash for abortion if they were anxious about the health of the baby.

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At hotpot restaurants in China, most of the ingredients are relatively low-priced. "I'm never going to eat hotpot outside again", said one user.

Users of Chinese social media site Weibo reacted to the photos and video with disgust, with one person writing: "I feel like vomiting".

On 11 September, the company's share price hit its lowest level since October past year. "Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?" one asked.

The restaurant initially put out a statement on Saturday saying that it had "ruled out" the possibility that a lack of hygiene had caused the rat to end up in the hotpot, but later deleted it.

Hotpot is a popular dish in China where people can add meat and vegetables to soup. 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.

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