Report: Large Amounts of Oil Skimmed From Sewers Being Used in China’s Food System

If you are visiting Beijing, you might want to go for energy bar and a bottle of Evian. The Chinese are dealing with their latest food scandal. After “toxic beans, contaminated milk and pork, pesticide-laced dumplings, [and] chemically-tainted chicken,” they now have to deal with reports that a large number of restaurants and food vendors are cooking in oil that has been skimmed from the sewers.

Ironically, the comprehensive failure of the government to protect its food supply has led to soaring demands for organic foods — though if you cannot believe that a food vendor is using non-sewer oil, I am not sure how much stake you can put into a claim of organic produce. Indeed, Whole Foods has been the subject of continuing criticism for using Chinese organic products given the lack of oversight and widespread corruption allegations.

The black market runs off nightly skimming operations, particularly in sewers behind restaurants. They skim, filter, and then resell the oil. In one case, a man was caught in broad daylight skimming — an example of how common the practice has become.

The article below quotes experts as saying that 80 percent of the skimmed oil is going into the food system as opposed to use as fuel.

Source: Telegraph

19 thoughts on “Report: Large Amounts of Oil Skimmed From Sewers Being Used in China’s Food System”

  1. Whole foods has a cheaper brand called “365”. I think that is where the Chinese organic products were used. I think the practice has been discontinued.

  2. I have met the owner of Whole Foods when he first opened shop in Austin. FYI, its about the only place that you can get employment with a felony. Well depending on the nature of the felony, I don’t think it can be an assaultive type. It used to be a great place to get freshly grown herbs…..

  3. From article:
    “Whole Foods has been the subject of continuing criticism for using Chinese organic products…”

    Thanks for the info, that’s going to save me some money when I do my food shopping.

  4. “An offshore oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, west of the site of the April blast that caused the massive oil spill.

    A commercial helicopter company reported the blast around 9:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Casey Ranel said. Seven helicopters, two airplanes and four boats were en route to the site, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast.

    The Coast Guard said initial reports indicated all 13 crew members from the rig were in the water. One was injured, but there were no deaths.

    The platform owned by Mariner Energy is in about 2,500 feet of water, the Coast Guard said, and was not currently producing.”

  5. I wonder if that catfish I had last night was cooked in oil skimmed off the Gulf?


    That was the first headline I read today. They are sending out planes and boats to assess the damage, no word on if it was a drilling or production rig or if anyone was aboard.

    I have started to look for employ as far from the Gulf as possible.

  6. Had a case-study in a marketing class on Perrier. The French company couldn’t give it away in the US & was going to abandon the market when a US company bought the distribution. They advertized it as high-end imported stuff & tripled the price . . . they couldn’t bottle it fast enough to keep up with demand.

    Meanwhile I am reconsidering my dream of eating my way across China.

  7. We may soon become “energy-independent” by extracting BP tarballs from the sewers of Gulf Coast communities and the clogged inlet filters of Gulf Coast water filtration plants. This will become one of those high-tech “green” industries that President Obama is encouraging. I can almost see the BP commercials with the happy pelicans cavorting in the pristine waters off New Orleans (just don’t look under the water!).

  8. Don’t worry. We’re getting our share of tainted Chinese food here too. Bon Appetit!

    “Under FDA rules, when further reprocessing occurs or material is added to the imported product, it results as a “substantial transformation” of the product. The country of origin can then be changed on the product. According to Morris, this means that ingredients such as milk powder, whey powder, milk concentrate and other items from China could be put into products that could then be labeled as “made in the U.S.A.” He adds that the current system offers little protection for consumers.

    LINK: “

    And here’s the expose that the Washington Post ran in 2007, also still very relevant:

    “China’s less-than-stellar behavior as a food exporter is revealed in stomach-turning detail in FDA “refusal reports” filed by U.S. inspectors: Juices and fruits rejected as “filthy.” Prunes tinted with chemical dyes not approved for human consumption. Frozen breaded shrimp preserved with nitrofuran, an antibacterial that can cause cancer. Swordfish rejected as “poisonous.”


  9. AY,

    I’m going to remember that one … falls into the realm of truth being stranger than fiction.

  10. Blouise,

    I number 2 you not. It was in one of the trade journals I read a number of years ago.

  11. Evian Water, greatest marketing concept ever. The name spelled backwards in Naive…..this you don’t have to play backwards to hear Jerry tell you its the devil speaking.

    It comes from a spring near Lake Geneva called Cathat Springs. How you Evian Water out of that I am not sure.

    I guess Outhouse Springs Water did exceptionally well as a marketing concept. However, it was never produced, it was not a product.

    It was a billboard advertising concept to figure out how much to charge advertisers for the space. Well, the billboard ads got a lot of attention and it was eventually produced and called Outhouse Spring Water Number 1 and Number 2.

  12. LETS hope they don’t use Olestra in their food. Used Olestra to fry food is an unappetizing idea.

    Olestra is not absorbed by the gut and is excreted.

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