Recycled Cooking Oil Found to Be Latest Hazard in China - NYTimes.com
Last year NPR had a week-long series about life in modern China. One of the days was spent talking about the epidemic of toxic food--not in the too-salty and too-fatty American sense, but rather food that contains heavy metals, industrial lubricants, toxic waste, etc. This came right after Chinese corporations had been caught lacing milk and pet food with the toxin melamine to fool protein tests. Ever since I've been rather fascinated at how the thriftiness and new capitalism and shame culture (It's only bad if you get caught!) have conspired to make China into this perfect laboratory for deadly foods.
SHANGHAI — Regulators are investigating whether restaurants throughout China are creating food hazards by cooking with recycled oil, some tainted with food waste, and prominence given to the issue in the state-controlled media suggests that the problem could be widespread.
The State Food and Drug Administration issued a nationwide emergency notice telling health bureaus to investigate the sources of cooking oil in mid-March. The notice came shortly after a professor and a group of students at Wuhan Polytechnic University announced that they had found widespread use of recycled oil in their region in an undercover investigation. The professor, He Dongping, asserted that recycled oil was being used to prepare 1 in 10 meals in China.
Regulators are now searching for illegal oil recycling mills, and some health bureaus have begun releasing the names of restaurants and food establishments that were found to be using questionable oil.
Last November, regulators in southern China raided several workshops for turning discarded waste — possibly even sewage — into cooking oil.
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