What image does the phrase “Made in China” conjure up in your mind? Probably, ‘a look-alike and sub-standard version of an original product’ is what you might blurt out at once. Chinese cuisine is popular worldwide and finds favor across all age groups alike. Some of it might already be a part of your usual diet choice when you go out to eat. Like, Tofu, Noodles, various rice items and many such mouth-watering delicacies. But how would it feel to learn some ugly facts about these very food items you consume unabatedly. These findings are sure to send a chill down your spine once you read them. Food scams are something which we don’t usually hear about in our everyday life. However, it would be interesting to take a look at a few of them that have surfaced in recent times. Here, we are listing out 10 bizarre food scams that can happen only in China but might spread to other countries too, if went unnoticed.
So have a look at the following list and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
1. Plastic rice:
How would it feel to discover that the rice on your platter might not really be rice but tiny bits of plastic?? Shocked??!! Don’t be. The Chinese version of rice is here and it’s found to be a synthesized amalgam of potatoes, sweet potatoes and synthetic resins made to appear like a rice-grains. It first began to be sold in Taiyuan, a market-place in the Shaanxi province of China. Its stone-like toughness makes it impossible to be digested by the human digestive system. It would drive you insane to know that consuming three bowls of this rice is as good as consuming one whole plastic bag.
This is not all. it even comes in different flavors and is being sold in Chinese markets under the name ‘Wuchang rice’, which is priced way above other rice variants in the market. It’s interesting to know that merely 800,000 tons of ‘Wuchang Rice’ is produced annually, but a whopping 10 million tons of it gets sold, needless to say 9 million of which is fake.
2. Rat Mutton:
Feeling nauseated already?? Wait up, there’s more. This time it’s the meat! Chinese meat-sellers are apparently mixing chemicals with the meat of rats, minks and foxes and selling it under the impression of mutton. The production of this counterfeit meat literally exploded so much so that police nabbed around 900 people and confiscated up to 20,000 tons of this meat, within a span of just 3 months. A seller named Wei is reported to have made a fortune of £1 million from its sale. Fox, mink and rat meat was found to be mixed with Nitrate, gelatin and carmine before being pushed out into the markets for sale.
It grabbed headlines to such an extent that the Chinese police had to intervene and post an educative tutorial on ‘Sina Weibo’, China’s biggest micro-blogging site, to spread awareness about this scam. On the face of it, it’s hard to tell it apart from the real one. One only gets to know of its pseudo appearance once it’s cooked and thawed. It’s worth mentioning here that the white and red parts of real meat don’t separate when cooked, while the fake ones do.
3. Chemical Tofu:
Next on our list is Tofu a.k.a Soya curd which generally prepared by using soya milk and a coagulant. Several factories involved in this chemical-Tofu business have been shut down in Wuhan and Hubei provinces of China. It’s confirmed by a worker himself that they make it by spiking Soya protein with flour, Monosodium Glutamate, food-coloring pigments and ice before selling it under the name of a genuine Tofu-selling company. Perhaps, this method is not all that monstrous when compared to that produced by a gang, which prepares it from Rongalite, a carcinogenic industrial bleaching agent. All this, just to make them chewier and impart a bright finish to it. This gang was reportedly being run by three cousins who have apparently sold 100 tons of this spurious product. The equipments used, upon raid, were found to be quite dirty and unhygienic.
4. Formaldehyde and Duck Blood:
Duck blood tofu is widely eaten in China which is prepared by the blood from slaughtered ducks. However, the manner in which its fake-version is made is quite bone-chilling. Formaldehyde is mixed with much cheaper pig or buffalo fat to prepare it and square-shaped chunks of the resultant Tofu are sliced before being sold.
In yet another instance, a couple from Jiangsu province was nabbed by Chinese authorities. Their method of preparation was even scarier. They were found to be mixing chicken blood with a dye used for printing. The extent of this counterfeit tofu can be gauged from the fact that it’s so widespread that people can tell the fake tofu from the real one from the face of it.
5. Adulterated honey:
There are two versions of this adulterated honey that is being sold. The first one is prepared by spiking the real honey with sugar syrup, beetroot syrup and rice syrup whereas the other one is prepared by mixing water, sugar, alum and edible dye.
Economically, the profit derived from this shady business is six-fold the investment amount. This again, like tofu, is so widespread that people, in general, are quite aware about the fake and the real one.
Apart from the raids conducted within China itself, police have busted several other rackets in different countries world-wide. According to a report, 10 percent of the total amount of honey sold in France is said to be fake and is apparently imported from China or East Europe. Similar other syndicates have been busted in the United States as well smuggled in through Australia.
6. Contaminated bottled water:
When it comes to adulteration, this criminal business of counterfeiting is not limited to food alone. Even drinking water has not been spared by the menace of adulteration. Among a number of police raids, the fake water bottles containing poorly treated water were found to be sold under the label of a genuine one. This is not all, to make matters alarming, the samples collected were found to contain E-coli. Sellers have been making profits to the tune of 1 billion Yuan. The profit derived from it gets as huge as 6 times the production-investment.
7. Rotten rice noodles:
These noodles are literally prepared from rotten, moldy and stale grains to be used as animal feed. Sulfur Dioxide is then mixed with it before it takes its final shape. Preparation of this food product is a Herculean task and requires the involvement of a huge number of people, who roll out a quantity of fake noodles as huge as 500,000 kilograms a day. Bleached rice, among other methods, is mixed with additives to produce three times the amount produced normally.
In another instance, flour, starch and corn powders have been found to be used for making it. Noodles produced this way, have been found to be low in protein-content which is 7 times lower than a normal bowl of rice. Let alone humans, even the pigs that were fed these noodles were reported to have grown weak limbs.
8. Clenbuterol-laced pork:
Clenbuterol is a well known additive for animal feed. It’s known to have adverse health impact on humans like sickness, heart-problems, sweating and dizziness among others. The use of this additive was banned way back in 2002, but some meat-producing companies still make use of it and produce leaner pork which fetches them more profit.
It has been learnt, to everyone’s dismay, that the meat-producing company is the subsidiary of one of china’s premiere development firms, ‘Henan Shuanghui’. 24 workers were sacked as a result of this revelation and the company ended up getting its shares suspended by the concerned authorities to avoid this scandal from impacting stock market. According to a report, there were 18 incidents of Clenbuterol abuse which resulted in 1700 people falling sick.
9. Fake wine:
According to a Chinese T.V report, more than 90 percent of the premium wines sold in china is counterfeit. The problem grew to such an extent that a wine testing facility had to be established in the Guandong province of china. Wine producers collaborated with the Chinese government to literally bring out an app to scan the fake bottles of wine in the market.
Just like it happened in the case of tofu, bottles of premium wine brands were used to fill dirt cheap wine before selling them.
In a police raid in china, as many as 40,000 counterfeit wine bottles worth $ 32 million were recovered.
10. Yancheng hairy crabs:
Yangcheng crabs being the costliest of all crabs, it hardly ever surprises one to find people selling normal ones faking it to be Yangcheng crabs. Some sellers used water from Yangcheng Lake to breed the normal ones in it yet some others used chemicals to make them look like Yancheng crabs.
The gravity of the problem can be estimated from the fact that only 1 crab out of every 300 crabs is real. The produce is as low as 3000 tons annually but 10000 tons of it is sold in the name of Yangcheng, making it beyond obvious, for one to estimate the amount of fake ones.