Thursday, April 1, 2010

Problems in China with cooking oil slop and more

Regulators are investigating restaurants throughout China and the widespread practice of cooking with recycled oil, some tainted with food waste.
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.
Regulators in southern China raided several workshops for turning discarded waste, like sewage, into cooking oil.
Much of cooking oil used in China could be made from recycled kitchen or restaurant waste oil, which contains a highly toxic, carcinogenic substance called “aflatoxin.”
This can't come as a a big surprise, after all, China has repeatedly been hit by food safety scandals with contaminated milk, eggs and animal feed and the selling of diseased pigs.
In 2007, the head of the State Food and Drug Administration was executed for failing to properly govern the country’s food and drug industry.
Since then China has announced a major food safety crackdown.

But even with the crackdown, this week, state newspapers have reported that regulators found “unsafe artificial green peas” in Hunan Province and some 20,000 pounds of “toxic vegetables” in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Those vegetables had excessive pesticide residues, according to the government inspectors.
With regards to the green peas, two illegal food workshops were caught processing dried snow peas and soybeans with chemicals and bleach to make them appear like the more expensive green peas.
In the city of Chengdu, in southwestern China, food safety officials released the names of 13 restaurants that were found to be using illegal cooking oil.
But local residents were angry at Chengdu regulators for having delayed the release of some of the names of the restaurants
Huang Fenghong, deputy director of the Oil Crops Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said the use of illegal cooking oil was a serious problem in China.
“Some low-end restaurants establish stable buy-and-sell relationships with underground oil recyclers,” he said.
“Some oil recyclers just dig out the oil from drains, because high-end restaurants seldom sell that drainage oil.”