Many parts of China are actually known for their fine cuisine, but its food industry has taken a lot of heat lately for its troubling lack of standards (and for good reason).
Some Chinese websites have come out with instructional videos on how to make $70 a day by producing and selling fake eggs. The chemicals that are required are “Alginic Acid, Potassium Alum, Gelatin, Calcium Chloride, water and artificial color.” The eggshells are made from Calcium Carbonate. Eating these eggs may cause memory loss and dementia.
In 2012 a man purchased shelled walnuts in Zhengzhou city, China only to find broken concrete pieces inside. The concrete was wrapped in paper to prevent it from making a suspicious noise when the nut was shaken. The vendor who sold the walnuts was trying to gain more profit by selling these fake nuts that were much heavier than the real thing. More photos are shown at this Chinese news site.
3. Making beef out of pork
Because pork is less expensive in China, some restaurants have sold it instead of beef – but not before they performed some chemistry on it. What they use are a beef extract and a glazing agent to “marinate” the meat in for 90 minutes. Doctors have advised people to stay away from this fake product as its long-term use may cause“slow poisoning, deformity, and even cancer.”
4. Baby formula
In 2004, 47 people were accused of producing a fake instant baby formula that led to dozens of children dying in Fuyang, China, reported CBS News. The formula contained very few nutrients was likely made of chalk and made the children develop a “big head disease,” which made their heads swell and the rest of their bodies slowly deteriorate.
5. Fake Sweet Potato Noodles
A facility in Zhongshan city, China made at least 5.5 tons of fake noodles. In 2011, people started complaining that what were supposed to be sweet potato noodles tasted strange. Further investigation led to a revelation that the noodles were composed of corn with an industrial ink used to give them a purple color, and paraffin wax.
6. Fake Ginseng
Ginseng root is a popular medicinal plant, used as a tonic in China for over 3,000 years. According to BON TV, prices for ginseng have increased rapidly, pushing many ginseng retailers to figure out a way to keep making a profit. Their solution was to boil the roots in sugar, which makes them much heavier and therefore more profitable.
Chinese medicine expert from the National Institute for Food and Drug Control Wei Feng said this is problematic, not only because the retailers are ripping off the customers, but also because boiling ginseng in sugar might strip it from most of its medicinal values. The test showed that while natural ginseng has 20% content of sugar, this fake one is up to 70% sugar. “It can do little to improve people’s health,” Wei Feng said.