China Watch Blog has learnt that Chinese police have seized more than 3,200 tons of a new type of “gutter oil” made from decomposing animal fat and internal organs.
A China Daily report quoted the Ministry of Public Security as saying that more than 100 people suspected of producing the oil were detained in a March 21 food-safety operation that covered two municipalities and four provinces.
Police also closed down 13 underground workshops that were producing the oil. Previously, the phrase “gutter oil” referred to the reprocessing of used oil and even restaurant leftovers, which were then resold as cooking oil.
However, the new strain is made from meat that was past its sell-by date and of low quality, and even rotten animal fat and internal organs, according to the statement.
In October, residents in Jinhua city, East China’s Zhejiang province, told local police that they often smelled a foul odor in an area on the outskirts and suspected that gutter oil was being made there, said the ministry.
After a five-month investigation, police found that the group, led by a man called Li Weijian, was producing illegal oil and had animal carcasses and organs in their workshop, said the statement.
The products were then sold to refiners in the provinces of Anhui and Jiangsu, and the municipality of Chongqing. The oil was then used by restaurants as a base for hotpots, the statement said.
Li’s gang earned more than 10 million yuan ($1.59 million) between January and November 2011, according to the ministry.
Although China launched a nationwide campaign to fight practices such as this in August 2011, several food-safety scandals, including cases involving gutter oil and the illegal addition of pig feed to foodstuffs, still occurred.
So, if you are going for a hotpot meal, you may or may not end up with food cooked in gutter oil. Beware.If you think China Watch Blog's information is useful, click on cup of coffee on left hand side and make a small contribution via PayPal