The Nanfang / Blog

Tonnes of Dongguan Gutter Oil Processed & Sold By Unlicensed Companies

Posted: 09/10/2014 10:00 am

A woman is processing gutter oil.

While Taiwan is scrambling to contain the aftermath of its recent gutter oil scandal, Dongguan is facing a scandal of its own, as reported by Nandu. It alleges that the city produced nearly 4,000 tones of gutter oil a month, with approximately 3,000 tonnes ending up on dining tables, which far outnumbers the 700 tonnes exposed in Taiwan.

According to an unidentified executive from Zhongyou Zaozhi Company, the city’s only legally licensed processor of gutter oil (which turns oil from kitchen waste and slaughterhouse byproducts into fatty acid and industrial soybean oil), the company can barely collect 1,000 tonnes out of the total 4,000 tonnes produced. The remaining 3,000 tonnes is collected by more than 10 unlicensed companies, either from the city or manufacturers from nearby Shenzhen, Huizhou and Zengcheng, to process and sell to restaurants or other retailers.

Collecting the oil is not always an easy job. Workers from Zhongyou Zaozhi company explained that some gutter oil collectors had resolved to fight for the profitable, substandard oil. One worker, Xiaodu, said in May that he was threatened by illegal oil collectors from Shenzhen. His nose was injured after telling them that they did not have the right to collect the oil in Dongguan.

Gutter oil seized in Beijing in 2010.

According to the report, high profits are fueling the gutter oil market. One tonne of the oil can be sold for nearly RMB 4,000 ($652), while the cost of collection and processing is less than RMB 1,000 ($163). In total, illegal gutter oil collectors can receive RMB 3,000 in profits ($489).

We don’t know what the health risks are in consuming the oil; but, researchers are apparently working around the clock to find the answer. As reports of food safety scandals continue to develop, we see a bright future for Baidu’s newly-unveiled smart chopsticks, which are said to be able to sense if the food you eat is made with gutter oil. At this rate, we can say this may be the most anticipated new product in China.

Photos: Getty Image;



New “Smart Chopsticks” Tell You If Your Food Is Poisonous

Posted: 09/4/2014 1:14 pm

baidu kuaisou chopsticks smart device food safetyChina has been hit with several food scandals in recent years (which we’ve covered extensively here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), making some scared to even risk dining out. Under such dire circumstances, what is a foodie supposed to do? Baidu, fresh off unveiling its glasses that allow you to wear the GFW on your head, thinks it has an answer.

Kuaisou are a pair of “smart chopsticks” equipped with onboard sensors that test the quality of the food they touch. The information is then sent to your smartphone, so you can see whether what you are about to eat is actually safe.

Baidu CEO Robin Li called the product “a new way of becoming aware of the world.” baidu kuaisou chopsticks smart device food safety

Kuaisou can test for oil, water, temperature, pH levels, and nutritional information, and has three main features:

  • The device can tell if fried food was made with “gutter oil” or re-used oil by passing a grade of “Excellent”, “Good”, or “Unacceptable”.
  • Kuaisou can test drinks for their pH levels and determine the presence of mild acids.
  • It can test fruit for their sweetness, variety, and source. Kuaisou are said to be able to determine if a red Fuji apple comes from Shandong or Shaanxi.

baidu kuaisou chopsticks smart device food safetyKuaisou will eventually be able to detect melamine in milk products and be able to discern the difference between real and fake lamb barbecue skewers.

The high-tech chopsticks are expected to go into production soon.

baidu kuaisou chopsticks smart device food safety


[h/t WSJ China Real Time]

Photos: 3lian, Chinabyte


Images of Shenzhen bus passengers covered in kitchen waste go viral

Posted: 01/7/2013 1:00 pm

Shocked passengers comfort each other

After Shenzhen bus route 310-315 crashed into a cart carrying swill on January 2, photographs of dishevelled passengers snapped by a bystander went viral on Sina Weibo. Initially, it was thought that the passengers were covered in sewage, but it was later revealed that it was swill, kitchen waste that is commonly used as animal feed, according to CRI English.

There were only eight passengers on board and they were sent to a nearby hotel to take a shower, given new clothes and compensated 1,000 yuan each by the bus company. No serious injuries were reported.

It appears the conductor was one of the lucky ones who was standing at the back

Netizens’ reactions ranged from sympathy to schadenfreude. One popular meme was: “The most serious traffic accident in the world,” (a pun in which the word “world” 世 is replaced by the word “feces” 屎 which sounds the same in Chinese).

Others wondered whether this may have been caused by the controversial new traffic measures that took effect January 1.

One netizen urged the passengers to go and buy lottery tickets as outlandish misfortune may be followed by outlandish fortune. Another argued that at least the nation was now short of a truckload of gutter oil.

Passengers wait to be taken off to shower and get changed


800 bottles of soy sauce blended with carcinogenic industrial saline solution

Posted: 05/30/2012 7:00 am

If there is one culinary staple Laowi and native Chinese can agree upon, it would probably be soy sauce. The salty substance is ubiquitous in Chinese cooking and has successfully infiltrated cultures far beyond the Middle Kingdom. However, following a report over the weekend in the Nanfang Daily, you may want to consider switching brands, if not avoiding the sauce entirely.


According to the report, Foshan based Gaoming Weiji Seasoning Food, has been using some very dodgy methods in the production of its soy sauce. Rather than seasoning their soy with table salt as is normal practice, Weji seasoned close to 800 bottles of mushroom flavoured dark-soy, and light soy with a carcinogenic industrial saline solution. The 800 bottles have already been sold to local retailers.

Following an investigation by the Industrial and Commerce Bureau, it was discovered that the company had in excess of 26 tonnes of the saline solution stock-piled in its factory. According to investigators, as the industrial solution is substantially cheaper than table salt, Weiji were hoping to cut production costs, and in turn, increase profits.

The controversy however doesn’t end there. While Weiji is a relatively small enterprise, the company was initially registered by Hai Tian Flavouring & Food Co. Ltd., the largest flavour and seasoning producer in Foshan. Despite the relationship, Hai Tian has thus far denied any corporate association with Weiji or involvement in the scandal.

This of course is not the first time local businesses have been caught replacing common cooking products with cheaper, unsafe alternatives.  Last September we told you about the Guangdong Public Security Bureau’s crackdown on gutter oil. Apparently we can now add carcinogenic industrial saline solution to the list.

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