China's unprecedented growth and rapid development has left a void in the food supply. With an expanding population, the resources needed to meet the needs of these citizens has hit the food production industry hard. Vendors have been found to cut corners in order to meet demand, and the results are disgusting and frightening.
Huge amounts of rice noodles were made from rotten grain and other possibly poisonous ingredients, it was discovered in 2010. The hazardous noodles were traced to 50 factories near Dongguan in southern China. Before authorities forced the factories to close, it is estimated as much as 1.1 million pounds of noodles was produced on a daily basis and distributed to Chinese restaurants.
The chemical melamine is similar to cyanide, a poisonous substance that can be fatal to humans. In 2009, four Chinese infants died after drinking this polluted milk. In all, it was estimated that 53,000 Chinese babies and children fell ill because of this melamine-tainted milk. Why would anyone do such a thing? It was suggested that the melamine addition to the milk was believed to raise the protein content in the milk.
Imagine serving a nice pork dinner to your family, then discovering later that the pork was contaminated with a bacteria that glows in the dark. That's what happened to a Chinese woman in 2011. She bought a pound of pork to prepare for dinner. She went to bed later without putting the leftovers away. When she got up in the night for a drink of water, she was shocked to discover the remaining pork glowing in the dark because of the phosphorescent bacteria contaminating it.
When it is made of gelatin, water, food coloring, and covered with a wax "shell'. That's what some food companies in China did, selling the industrial concoction as real eggs.
Walnuts are in high demand in China, and the price has increased accordingly. One ongoing food scandal there has thieves collecting empty walnut shells, filling them with cement and paper, then gluing the shells shut. They then sell the fake walnuts by the pound to unsuspecting buyers.
A good rule to follow: if you can't identify it, don't eat it. In the last few years, Chinese police have arrested more than 900 people who were trying to sell rat meat to unsuspecting customers. The rat meat was packaged as beef but was actually prepared under very unsanitary conditions. Police report these rat-meat vendors often use dangerous chemicals in the processing of the meat and inject it with water to increase the weight of the package.
In the Shaanxi province in China, there's a town called Taiyuan. According to reports in 2011, merchants in the town were selling fake rice that was actually made from a mixture of plastic and potatoes. The scandal was confirmed by the Chinese Restaurant Association, which conducted an investigation into who was manufacturing the fake rice.
Apparently, fake wine in China is a common occurrence. Take a standard wine bottle, fill it with cheap fruit juice, then slap an expensive looking label on it. Make it look expensive, and people who know nothing about wine are easily fooled.
A Chinese newspaper in 2007 featured a story that accused street vendors in Beijing of selling pork buns stuffed with cardboard, not pork. The recipe for these fake buns consisted of soaking the cardboard in chemicals to soften it up, mix in some pork fat for flavor, then stuff it in the buns. Sell it to unsuspecting customers and pocket the profit. Not a good thing to do.