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.