Yet another food scandal from China spotted on The Shanghaiist:
20,000 kilos of fake beef seized in Xi’an
Police in Xi’an, Shaanxi province have seized over 20,000 kg of fake beef made from pork and treated with chemicals, JRJ reports. The pork was treated with chemicals, including paraffin wax and industrial salts, to make it look like beef.
The factory sold over 1,500 kg of the fake beef to local markets at around 25 to 33 yuan per kilo. Six workshops producing the ‘beef’ have been shut down and the meat seized as evidence.
The news will come as particular concern to Xi’an’s large Muslim community, who may have been buying some distinctly non-halal beef.
Ah well, why am I not surprised? But really, there have been so many food scandals surrounding China for quite a period now – will this never end?
Let’s look at the top most Controversial Food Scandals in China:
1.) Cardboard Meat Stuffed in Steamed Buns
What better way is there to cut production costs than to use cardboard in lieu of genuine meat? In this undated photo, the cardboard cuts are soaked in caustic soda, chopped into shreds, and drizzled with spices and pork flavoring.
This process may sound plausible, but in 2007, state-owned China Daily reported the arrest of a television reporter in Beijing for releasing allegedly false reports that an unlicensed food store was selling these cardboard-stuffed steamed buns. To date, no supporting reports have confirmed that such practice exists in Chinese markets.
2. Melamine-laced Milk
How about increasing dairy production by simply adding water to milk? Sure, government-mandated tests would detect a smaller amount of proteins in diluted milk, but some profit-hungry individuals found a clever way to fool those quality checks.
Thanks to melamine, these diluted, tainted milk products passed the tests undetected. But here’s the fatal catch: in 2009, more than 50,000 Chinese infants and children were sickened, and four infants died from ingesting melamine-tainted milk.
3.) Fake Chicken Eggs
With the right mixture of calcium carbonate, gypsum powder, and paraffin wax, you’ll get perfectly shaped eggshells.
To create the egg white, a proportionate amount of sodium alginate is mixed with water, then incorporated with gelatin, alum, and benzoic acid. Then lemon yellow food color and calcium chloride are mixed to form the yolk. The finished product looks astonishingly similar to genuine eggs, but lacks the nutritional content, and adds the health risk of ingesting industrial-grade chemicals.
4.) Tainted Rice Noodles
For some, spoiled food still yields big bucks. In Dongguan, a city near Hong Kong, about 50 factories was found to be allegedly producing an estimated 500,000 kilos of rice noodles from mixtures of moldy, rotten grains, and chemicals believed to be carcinogenic, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.
5.) Fake Rice
Weekly Hong Kong reported in 2009 that the Singaporean media made claims about the still-widespread practice of producing fake rice in Taiyuan, a town in China’s Shaanxi province. Each fake grain contains a mixture of potato and sweet potato that is molded into rice-like shapes and sizes. Then the addition of industrial-grade plastic resin makes for the finishing touch.
The grains remain hard even when cooked, not to mention toxic for human consumption. One official from the Chinese Restaurant Association cites the dangers of eating fake rice: eating three cups is like eating one plastic bag. Investigation into these allegations is still under way.
6.) Glow-in-the-Dark Pork
Toys and star-shaped wall decorations may look alluring as they glow in pitch darkness, but not the pork you just bought from the market.
In 2011, Miss Chen, a resident who bought the pork, noticed something unusual as she got out of bed to use the toilet. As she walked past the kitchen, she noticed a strange faint bluish glow coming from the leftover meat. The same reports came from Changsha city.
This phenomenon led the Changsha Food Safety Commission to investigate, with the help of other government departments and experts in the field. The report indicated phosphorescent bacteria contamination, according to the Shanghai Health Supervision Department.
7.) Fake Wine
No fake wine escapes the taste buds of Jeannie Cho Lee, dubbed the Master of Wine. In a March 2012 Reuters report, he detected the copycat during a Hong Kong dinner party.
According to Ian Ford of Summegate Fine Wines, makers of fake wines took advantage of the surge in imported wines in the local market, adding that the potential victims were usually Chinese customers with little experience with wines.
8.) Rat Meat
No, we do not count this as fake. This is genuine, protein-rich meat — from rats. But what makes selling this meat a serious crime is falsely labeling the product as beef or mutton. And if rats are nowhere to be found, foxes and minks make a good alternative as well.
Recently, Chinese authorities made more than 900 arrests for food-related crimes, and in a three-month campaign mobilized by China’s Ministry of Public Security, which started in January 25, more than 380 cases of illegal food-related practices were uncovered. The crackdown itself amassed more than 20,000 tons of meat sold illegally.
What makes the processing of these meat products even more dangerous is the use of chemicals not intended for human consumption.
9.) Fake Walnuts
Walnut vendors found an ingenuous way to boost their profits: collecting empty walnut shells, filling them with cement and paper before gluing the shells together and mixing them with real nuts.
In China, where the price of walnuts skyrocketed from 350 RMB to about 3,500 (even reaching 5,000 RMB in just ten years), this trick works well for vendors desperately trying to rake in more cash.
10. Fake Tofu
According to mainland media, fake tofu, made with chemicals and cheap starch, is widespread on the mainland, having been found in the central provinces of Hunan and Hubei and the southern province of Hainan .
A tofu manufacturer based in Suzhou , Jiangsu, alerted the authorities that fake products had been passed off as its certified and registered tofu products in several cities in Hubei and Hunan since May, the Changjiang Times reported on Monday.
The counterfeiters said they mixed the chemicals with water, salt and monosodium glutamate before steaming the mixture, packaging it and giving it a brand name.
11. Honey Laundering / Fake Honey
Police in Chongqing’s Hechuan district have discovered a production site for fake honey and confiscated about 500 kilograms of the fake nectar. “The artificial honey contained zero per cent real honey,” the report said, showing a chemical analysis report according to which the honey contained 187 milligrams of aluminium residue to every kilogram of honey.
China is the world’s largest producer of honey and exports large amounts to the rest of the world.
12. Fake Red Bull
Believe it or not, this filthy vessel is for producing Red Bull.
3,820 boxes of cans, ingredients and packaging materials in eight locations over the last month were confiscated. The fake energy drinks appear to have been distributed by a nation-wide operation, according to police.
Criminals involved in faking the popular drink make a 3.7 yuan profit on every fake can sold. Each one of their 12 illegal production lines was turning out 2,400 cans a day.