The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dangerous chinese eats: not just for export anymore

I've been picking on China enough lately, but this story has too much of that car wreck you can't look away from to risk anyone not seeing it. Especially because I love these things.

Chopped cardboard, softened in an industrial chemical and made tasty with pork flavoring, is a main ingredient in batches of steamed buns sold in a Beijing neighborhood, state television said.

The report, aired late Wednesday on China Central Television, highlights the country's perennial problems with food safety despite continuing government efforts to improve the situation.

Countless small, often illegally run operations exist across China and make money cutting corners by using inexpensive ingredients or unsavory substitutes. They are almost impossible to regulate. [. . .]

"What's in the recipe?" the reporter asks. "Six to four," the man says.

"You mean 60 percent cardboard? What is the other 40 percent?" asks the reporter. "Fatty meat," the man replies.

The bun maker and his assistants then give a demonstration on how the product is made.

Squares of cardboard picked from the ground are first soaked to a pulp in a plastic basin of caustic soda — a chemical base commonly used in manufacturing paper and soap — then chopped into tiny morsels with a cleaver. Fatty pork and powdered seasoning are stirred in.