12 food items that are forged by the inventive ChinesePictolic
China is famous for many things, including the number of fakes produced. From clothing and bags of famous brands to electronics, China has everything. But some "dealers" went further and learned to fake food.
At first glance, rice is impossible and pointless to forge, but the sophisticated Chinese were able to do it. Fake Chinese rice is called plastic rice. It is made from sweet potatoes and synthetic resin, and it is very similar to real rice, but inedible.
Artificial rice is sold in Chinese markets in the city of Taiyuan in Shaanxi Province. This rice remains as hard as a rock after it is cooked. Plastic rice can't be eaten — it's like eating a plastic bag for lunch.
In addition to producing artificial rice, dishonest Chinese vendors add flavorings to regular rice and sell it under the guise of more expensive Wuchang rice. Only 800 thousand tons of Wuchang rice are produced annually, and about 10 million tons are sold. In other words, 9 million tons of rice is fake.
Unscrupulous sellers have become accustomed to adding chemicals to the meat of rats, minks and foxes and selling it under the guise of lamb. The scheme was so popular and successful that the police arrested 900 people and seized 20,000 tons of fake mutton in just three months.
Wei, one of the sellers of such meat, received a revenue of about 10 million yuan. He treated the meat of foxes, rats, and minks with nitrates, gelatin, and carmine before selling it on the market to unsuspecting customers.
The Chinese police published on the largest website of microbiologists instructions on how to distinguish real mutton from fake. At first glance, the differences are hard to see. The white and red parts of mutton do not separate from each other after the meat is thawed or boiled, and in fake meat they do.
Tofu, or soy curd, is a cheese made from a mixture of soy milk and a coagulant.
Chinese authorities recently closed two factories in the city of Wuhan (Hebei Province) for selling fake tofu, which was produced by combining various chemicals.
One of the workers admitted that they mixed soy protein with flour, sodium glutamate, dye and ice, and then packaged it so that the product not only corresponded to the present as much as possible, but also resembled the popular Qianye brand.
Fake tofu was widely sold in Chinese markets. Since the fake was cheap, it soon eclipsed the original brand. The Deanfa Food Company noticed a drop in sales and sounded the alarm. After the manufacturers of the fake were caught, it turned out that they applied the original laser code to the packaging, using equipment worth $ 1.2 million.
Using soy protein is not the meanest thing to do, and not all criminal schemes are so innocent. Other scammers who produced fake tofu added rongalite and cancer-causing industrial bleach to it. The chemical bleached the tofu and made its consistency denser. In total, about a hundred tons of this poisoned product were sold.
During a raid on a fake tofu factory, police found remnants of the product and dirty equipment used to produce it.
Tofu with duck blood is considered a delicacy in China. The blood is heated until it thickens, then cut into cubes and sold. This is already strange, but then-more. Sellers mixed health-threatening ingredients, such as formaldehyde, with cheaper pig or cow blood, and then sold the mixture as duck blood.
The Chinese authorities have brought to light criminals who forged duck blood. They were a couple from the province of Jiangsu. To prepare the delicacy, they used chicken blood mixed with inedible paint and materials that are used in the printing industry.
The police confiscated a ton of fake duck blood from the scammers. The use of fake duck blood for tofu is so common in China that people have learned to distinguish a fake from a natural product by its appearance and smell.
There are two types of fake honey: this is diluted natural honey with sugar, beetroot or rice syrup, and honey that is even more similar to the real one than the natural honey itself. It is made from a mixture of water, sugar, alum, and dye.
The production of a kilogram of fake honey costs only 10 yuan at a sales price of 60 yuan. 70% of the honey sold in the Chinese province of Jinan is fake. As usual, Chinese newspapers write about how to distinguish natural honey from fake honey.
The police searched several underground producers and seized 38 buckets of honey from them. China is the world's largest exporter of honey. The study showed that 10% of the honey sold to France is fake. And most likely, it was brought from Eastern Europe or China. The US Customs Service caught smugglers who tried to smuggle a shipment of fake honey into the US from China via Australia.
Recently, the police uncovered the criminal activities of scammers who filled plastic bottles with tap water and sealed them with professional equipment. Popular brand labels and quality labels were affixed to the bottles.
During laboratory tests, Escherichia coli and a harmful fungus were found in water packed in artisanal conditions. Every year, 100 million clandestine water bottles worth $ 120 million are sold in China. By comparison, 200 million bottles (genuine and counterfeit) are produced in Beijing every year.
The bottled water scam is not new and has been going on since 2002. The cost of one bottle of such water is three yuan, and they sell it for ten yuan. The production of high-quality bottled water costs six yuan.
Fake Chinese rice noodles were made from rotten, stale, and moldy grains that are commonly used as animal feed. To obtain the final product, the spoiled raw materials are mixed with carcinogenic additives, such as sulfur dioxide. About fifty factories worked under this scheme in the city of Dongguan. Every day, ni produced 50 tons of counterfeit rice noodles.
An inspection of the other 35 factories revealed that 30 of them produced low-quality rice noodles. The factories bleached the spoiled rice and mixed it with additives to get three times more product.
Along with using stale rice, some manufacturers add flour, starch and corn powder to the dough. Such noodles have a very low protein content – only 1% compared to 7% for pure rice noodles and 4.5% for mixed rice noodles. Pigs fed fake rice noodles later developed weakness in their limbs and other health problems.
Clenbuterol or "lean meat powder" is an animal feed supplement. It burns fat in animals, and in humans it can cause nausea, heart problems, sweating, and dizziness. Its use in animal feed began in the 1980s, and in 2002 the substance was banned due to its health hazards.
However, some meat processing companies still give it to pigs. This caught the largest player in the meat market of China Henan Shuanghui. The company issued an official apology for its action and recalled 2,000 tons of pork from the market. Twenty-four employees of the company were dismissed or suspended.
In an attempt to minimize the company's losses, it suspended the sale of shares so that the scandal would not affect their price. The Chinese Meat Association tried to hush up the incident, so as not to harm the entire meat market of the country. From 1998 to 2007, 18 cases of clenbuterol use in meat production were recorded in China, as a result, one of the consumers of the products died and 1,700 people were poisoned.
Fake and counterfeit wines are a serious problem for China. China Central Television reported that half of all the wine sold in China is fake. According to the winemakers, 90% of the premium wines on sale in the country are counterfeit. To counteract the sale of counterfeit wine, a center for determining the authenticity of alcoholic beverages has been established in Guangdong Province.
Winemakers have teamed up with the government and released an app to track wine bottles and boxes in order to determine their authenticity.
When making fakes, as a rule, they use the original name, label and design of expensive wine bottles, but they do not change the logo and name. Other scammers use empty bottles from expensive wines, filling them with cheap wine.
Major hotels and auction houses are destroying empty bottles so they can't be reused. During a raid on a criminal group that was engaged in counterfeiting wine in China, the police found 40,000 bottles of counterfeit wine worth $ 32 million. The group was engaged in the bottling of cheap wine in the bottles of expensive wine brands.
In 2012, the police uncovered 350 episodes of counterfeit wine in Shanghai. The total amount of fakes seized was $ 1.6 million.
Hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake are the most expensive crabs in China. It is not surprising that the sellers try to pass them off as ordinary crabs. To do this, some of them take water from Yangcheng Lake and soak ordinary crabs in it a few hours before selling. Other sellers use chemicals for this purpose.
Every year, 100 thousand tons of hairy crabs are sold, but only 3 thousand of them are real. To combat the scammers, the Crab Business Association demanded that each hairy crab from Yangcheng Lake be labeled with a plastic ring with a unique digital code.
This plan soon fell through when licensed Yangcheng hairy crab sellers sold a database of digital codes to scammers.
Fake chicken eggs appeared on the markets a few years ago. They are so similar to the real ones that buyers can't tell them apart by their appearance. Fake eggs cost twice as much as natural eggs.
Inside, fake eggs also have white and yolk. They are made of gelatin, benzoic acid, alum, calcium chloride, paraffin and other substances.
On the Internet, there are still three-day courses on making such eggs, and they sell these courses for $ 150-200. The taste of fake eggs is similar to the real ones, especially if you make them into scrambled eggs. However, when frying, a lot of bubbles will appear on the surface of the protein, which should alert the consumer.
Doctors warn: eating such eggs causes serious disorders in the gastrointestinal tract. And according to some scientists, long-term nutrition with artificial eggs can provoke dementia.
Buns have learned to make from cardboard mixed with chemical components that give them the taste of pork. One TV program told of a salesman who made baozi buns out of cardboard. First, he mixed cardboard with caustic soda, which is used to make soap and paper, and then added seasonings and pork to the paper dough.
This viral video was spread with incredible speed even by several international media outlets. The Chinese government later said that foreign media took the news too seriously and that the fake buns were actually a hoax. The reporter who shot the video was arrested. The government stated that he wanted to increase the rating of the channel in this way.