Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Chinese Gutter Cooking Oil, a Reason Cancer id the Leading Cause of Death in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on October 28, 2013

Saying China has food safety issues is like saying Beijing has dirty air, it’s a vast understatement. One of the biggest problems is that the Chinese reuse dirty cooking oil and sell it as new. With little or no purification of the product, harmful and cancerous materials leach through and collect in each batch in a higher concentration. The result is literally a cancer inducing sludge. In many Chinese cities, stomach cancer is the leading cause of death and this could be the reason.


China’s food safety problems have no better symbol than the illegal and utterly disgusting problem of gutter oil. Cooking oil is used heavily in Chinese food, so some street vendors and hole-in-the-wall restaurants buy cheap, black market oil that’s been recycled from garbage. You read that correctly. Enterprising men and women will go through dumpsters, trash bins, gutters and even sewers, scooping out liquid or solid refuse that contains used oil or animal parts. Then they process that into cooking oil, which they sell at below-market rates to food vendors who use it to cook food that can make you extremely sick.



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