China’s food safety woes hit again with colored Mantou in Shanghai

| April 18th, 2011

From Sohu:

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Food safety has increasingly become a concern in China with a series of incidents exposed by media concerning contamination and the illegal use of prohibited ingredients and additives in foodstuffs. The list of unsafe foodstuffs in the country seems growing non-stop… Lately, Mantou (steamed-wheat bread), staple diet in many regions of the country, is on the list after a Shanghai media exposed a brand of Mantou long sold in some supermarket is found to be actually made in a dirty workshop with many unexpected ingredients.

"Recycle" expired Mantou:

Usually, expired foodstuffs are recycled by manufacturers and are used to feed animals or sold to other manufacturers. But in this exposed Mantou producer, Shanghai Sheng Lu Foods Company, they are used to make new "fresh" Mantou. In a report, the workers put Mantous that’s 7 days past the expiration date into a dough-kneading machine, then immersed it in water to soften the expired dried Mantou. Five minutes later, they pour two bags of flour into the machine, blending it with the softened Mantou to make dough. The dough then are ready to be placed into a Mantou maker machine to produce fresh-looking Mantou which are later sent to supermarket for sale.

Production Dating:

The manufacturer is obviously rather casual about the production dating. The worker puts the same date label onto both the Mantou made in same day and the Mantou made few days ago. The production date they put on the package is always the exact date the Mantou are sent and displayed in the supermarket, that’s one day after its real production date. So the date consumers reads on the package is probably 3 or 4 days after its real production.

Prohibited additives:

On their food label, the food additives are sugar and Vitamin C, but what they actually add into the Mantou are sodium cyclamate and potassium sorbate. Sodium cyclamate is an artificial sweetener which is 30–50 times sweeter than sugar, banned in U.S.A because of the possible carcinogenic effects, but approved in China as a sweetener with maximum amount in certain food categories, and in Mantou, 0.65g/kg. Potassium sorbate is a food preservative, approved to be used in many food categories, but banned in many fermented flour products including Mantou. In the investigation, the reporter said, workers are really random at the amount of additives they put into the Mantou, adding however much as they want

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Sodium Cyclamate used in the workshop

Then how can they pass the monthly food safety check? An employee of the company told the reporter, they have their way to dodge it. When the officials come, they would take the food sample to the office for the check and lock up the door to the workshop.

"Dye" the Mantou:

The yellow colored Mantou is Mantou with corn flour. But instead of using corn flour, the manufacturer slyly added the color additive-Tartrazine to give Mantou an appetizing yellow color. "There’s not a single manufacturer that actually makes the maize powder Mantou with 100 percent real material, the cost will be too high if we use corn to make Mantou, that’s simply impossible!" claimed the worker who keeps officials away from the workshop.

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Tartrazine used in the workshop

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Mantou sent to the supermarket

Before this report, everyday over 30,000 Mantous made by this manufacturer are sent to supply more than 30 supermarkets in Shanghai.

In the wake of the exposure of this Mantou producer in Shanghai, more unscrupulous manufacturers that produce unhealthy Mantou are exposed one after another:

Wen Zhou city

Xia Men city

I would like to end the post with an interesting entry from a QQ Microblog page where Chinese netizens discuss about the Mantou incident:

契约:

早起,买两根地沟油油条,切个苏丹红咸蛋,冲杯三聚氰氨奶,吃完开锦湖轮胎的车去上班。

中午,瘦肉精猪肉炒农药韭菜,再来一份人造鸡蛋卤注胶牛肉,加一碗石蜡翻新陈米饭,泡壶香精茶叶。下班,买条避孕药鱼,膨大西红柿,石膏豆腐,回到豆腐渣工程房,

"Wake up early in the morning, buy two Youtiaos fried in swill-cooked sewage oil, have a salty duck egg dyed with Sudan Red, finish a cup of powdered milk contaminated with melamine… drive to work in a car with Kumho tires (from Korean company). For the lunch, pork added with lean meat powder, together with contaminated vegetable , an artificial egg with beef injected with glue. After work, buy an fish fed with contraceptive medicine, abnormally large tomato (as the effect of some chemicals), a gypsum tofu. Then go back to the jelly-built projects house( house that’s built in shorter time, with bad and less material and consequently of poor quality) "

28 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Bo Wang says:

    Disgusting. A lot of foodstuffs imported from China don’t even have date of manufacture, even though there’s a space for it on label.

    I blame on this type of shit on the inept (corrupt?) inspectors… so the manufacturer can just show you the product and it’s okay not to check the actual production facilities? TMD.

  2. Curren$y says:

    I feel sorry for the foreigners who travel to China. I don’t think they can handle this type of poisonous garbage in their system. Chinese people on the other hand should just be glad they are fed.

  3. korean_guy says:

    Thanks to China I gotta check the country of origin on every damn product I buy…for physical safety.

    TAP SUM BONG

  4. Crystal says:

    “fish fed with contraceptive medicine”?
    What kind of dish is that?

  5. chiize says:

    i was thinking of going to china in a few years… but now… :/

  6. jw says:

    I think the next time i am in china, I’ll only eat at a place where you can pick living animal and have them give it the chop n’ cook right there.
    Any one know of any nice “dog kennels” in shanghai?

  7. Olivia says:

    @Chiize,

    lately I’m reading a “A Philosophy of Fear” by Lars Svendsen, which is a good read…and it reminds me again of how the media has this dominant influence on people’s conception and opinion…

    contaminated and unhygienic food are reported but they’re only a tiny portion of tons of food we eat everyday, which are absolutely healthy…no one will write the news of how one resturant serve hygienic food… on one hand, food some times is the cause of our sickness, but it’s also food that keeps you alive and healthy.and think about it, 6 billion chinese are quite alive when eating food in Chinese food everyday…so no need to be afraid to come to china just because of the pieces of news on its food problem.

    It’s never my intention to scare people off from China by writing these posts, because like my Dutch friend told me, you miss the food in China, you miss a lot 🙂

    • ChasL says:

      About the food coloring in mantou thing. In US many whole grain bread use food coloring to make them darker. But ingrident should be properly labeled.

      According to CDC, “foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year”.

      Not rationalizing the bad stuff in China, just that it’s not unique.

      • Curren$y says:

        Whole grain is good for you
        stupid fucker
        These Chinese stuff are carcinogens lmao bitch you can’t read or something?

        • Curren$y says:

          You know what, I’m the stupid fucker here. I didn’t read your post clearly. It’s 5am here and I had some soju.
          TAP MY BONG!

      • Mark says:

        China is still a developing country. Please stop the pathetic comparisons to the U.S.A.

        The U.S. has more refrigeration trucks(used to safely transport food) in one city than China has in its entire nation.

    • B-real says:

      @OliviaThat book only applies to a relatively safe environments. If you are not aware of your environment you may become a victim of it. Chinese media is not doing enough to make sure people are aware what their local shops are putting in their foods. Everyone plays close attention to McDonalds and KFC and they are fairly cleaner than the average Chinese distributor and some how they get better grade than foreign establishments .Judging by the population of the 6 billion you say china has about 2.3 billion of them are not eating nutrient rich foods or safe foods for that matter despite the fact that people are thriving. Atleast in these days in western nations when a company finds out their food is tainted with something they pull it off the shelves with out Gov enforcement and when Gov gets involved things get done swiftly and seemless. Here in China they cover up and deny, and sometimes protect those that were involved while people die and give out small settlement money to fewer victims and then the bosses gets murdered by the gov before they can give all the money out (Gov taking it for themselves).

      @Chiize Come to China but don’t eat the authentic food, I can attest its good as fuck but not good for you. The less ingredients involved in a dish is the best way to go. The best thing to do is cook for your self or go to international themed places, like a korean joint or Japanese joint that has imported ingredients, or stick to what you know is safe, any big chain restaurant that thrives off its reputation of clean safe and edible ingredients. I’ve been here 7 years and I have managed to come down with allot of cases of food poisoning and bad cases of the shits. I have taken Chinese food out of the equation and my health has bounced back to what it was 3 years ago.

      Its sad when something as simple as montou has shortcuts that can be taken. The chinese will sell any old garbage to people without thinking about the future is sicking.

  8. HY says:

    I thought gayi only go for organic food like organic banana, organic cucumber, organic carrot, organic hotdogs, organic dildo and last but not least organic coconut? Sorry China doesn’t have that, but we welcome gayi horni mommi and daughti, no qualiti checki needi, sureli sweeti simidi fucki.

    kakakaka

  9. Cleo says:

    And yet, Chinese food in China is so incomparably delicious. Maybe it is a case by case basis and only the good deserve to eat delicious … Nah! We’re all lucky when we eat Chinese food in China.

  10. CC says:

    Great post!!

  11. Gary says:

    Fruit juice is the same way with recycling old ingredients. Expired bottles of fruit juice are poured into the current batch and re-bottled with a new date.

  12. Mark says:

    The Chinese Paradox

    The government wants to crush the individual for the collective good. However, things like morality are really internal behaviors instilled into individuals through conscience, ethics, and morals which are often religion based.

    Free of any internal guidance Chinese actors will never be for the greater good except when their behavior will result in public punishment and lose of face. Hence the perpetual corruption, and collective crimes to food and safety.

    The government attempt to resurrect Confucianism is a pathetic attempt to give the individual a moral compass where thanks to the CCP none exists, and it points to the depth of the problem.

    The only cure will be a return to the public executions and mass trials of the past or the collapse of the current regime.

  13. Kali says:

    I find it immensely funny that the Korean is insulting Chinese safety standards as if Korea had never had any similar problems. Btw Koreanguy, just cause you don’t like something doesn’t mean u should bad mouth it. I personally like Chinese food. Dim sum and shanghai noodles are excellent. Every country has something unique and tasty to try. It’s sad that u are so closed minded that u refuse to see this.

    Also, please don’t insult the Chinese people just because u don’t like their government. How would u like people to insult your country because of it’s need of the US military presence. People should be treated as individuals with their own personal goals and lives. I don’t disagree with ur statements, but I do dislike how use chosen to present them.

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