Suspected SARS-carrying civet cats and other exotic wild game are back on the menu in China despite warnings from scientists.

A nationwide ban on eating civet cats was enforced after studies revealed the animal carries a similar SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus to that which killed hundreds in China last winter.

The cat will again join the menu along with other game popular in Guangdong Province where SARS first broke out, including crocodile, raccoons and monkeys.

China’s leading SARS expert Professor Zhong Nanshan told the Xinhuanet news agency that the lifting of the ban was irresponsible. ‘It’s absolutely inappropriate,’ he said.