These photos do not show human meat being sold as corned beef in Africa

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Photos have been shared dozens of times in multiple posts on Facebook since 2016 alongside a claim that Chinese people have started producing corned meat using human bodies and exporting it to Africa. The claim is false; the photos have been circulating online in separate reports since at least 2009 and do not show human meat; China has also officially denied the claim.

The photos were published in this Facebook post on October 11, 2016.

The post’s caption states: “Warning!! Chinese people have started producing Corned Beef and are busy distributing it to different parts of Africa especially Shoprite Meat Spot and all shops that sells mince meat, wors and meat...its time to be a vegetarian eh”.

Below is a screenshot of the post, with yellow letters added by AFP to distinguish each image:

Graphic imageryGraphic imagery

The same photos were published on Facebook here and here with a similar claim.

The claim is false; the photos have been circulating online in separate reports since at least 2009 and do not show human meat; China has also officially denied the claim.

A reverse image on Yandex found image A in the misleading post was published on this gore website (warning: graphic) published on May 3, 2009. The photo purports to show a woman from Mexico who was murdered by a drugs cartel. AFP could not independently verify the image.

Another reverse image search on Yandex found image B in the misleading post was published here on gaming website All That’s Epic on October 1, 2012.

The article states the photo was used as part of a promotion to launch the video game Resident Evil 6 in London.

Below is a screenshot of the photo published by All That’s Epic:

Alex Brian, an official photographer at the launch, told AFP in December 2018 that as part of the stunt, beef and chicken were made to look like human body parts.

"It was a two-day gig organised by the PR/Marketing department of Capcom as a stunt. They were all created by an artist and then sold, the profits all donated to the NPO Limbless Association,” Brian said.

A reverse image search for Image C in the misleading post found this AFP photo published on May 17 2011, showing pork at a market in Mexico City. 

The caption states: Cooks at a restaurant chop pork meat to make tacos at a market in Mexico City on May 5, 2011.”

Below is a screenshot of the AFP photo:

A reverse image search for Image D in the misleading post found it was published in this article by BuzzFeed on June 7, 2012. 

The article states the image shows bread sculptures which are made to look like human body parts, created by Thai artist Kittiwat Unarrom. 

Below is a screenshot of the photo published by BuzzFeed:

The two photos published on the bottom row are stock images published by Getty Images. 

A reverse image search for Image D found it was published here on November 9, 2015. It shows meat being displayed at a Whole Foods store in Los Angeles.

Below is a screenshot of the Getty Images photo:

A reverse image search for Image E found it was published here by Getty on April 26, 2012. It shows ground beef exiting a grinder in Wyanet, Illinois in 2012.

Below is a screenshot of the Getty Images photo:

A reverse image search for Image X found it has previously been published on pornographic websites. An AFP analysis showed the image had been doctored.

China denied that it had been selling canned human meat to Africa in a statement published here on May 17, 2016 after a Zambian newspaper published the claim. 

It states in part: “Today a local tabloid newspaper is openly spreading a rumour, claiming that the Chinese use human meat to make corn beef and sell it in cans to Africa. This is completely a malicious slandering and vilification which is absolutely unacceptable to us.”

AFP debunked a similar misleading claim about human meat being sold to Africa here