Photos Of Recycled Cooking Oil Put Chinese Food Safety In Question

 
on April 04 2012 4:33 PM
  • Digou Oil Being Prepared
    "Digou oil" -- variously translated as "sewage oil," "gutter oil," or "ditch oil" -- is commonly extracted through boiling and refining garbage or leftover foods. Oils released through rudimentary processing are then skimmed off and collected. (The following images were originally uploaded by Chinese blogger and independent journalist Wang Haofeng to www.sohu.com.) sohu.com
  • Oil Being Stored
    The oil is later sold to restaurant and hotel kitchens or street vendors for meal preparations, often through a third party, to be used for human consumption. sohu.com
  • Oil Being Skimmed From Cooking Vats
    Oils are commonly extracted through boiling and refining garbage or leftover foods. It is then skimmed off and collected into barrels or drums. sohu.com
  • Oil Being Skimmed From Cooking Vats
    Garbage and leftover foods are visible in cooking vats used to extract oil. sohu.com
  • Oil Being Stored For Distribution
    The oil is later sold to restaurant and hotel kitchens or street vendors for meal preparation, often through a third party, to be used for human consumption. sohu.com
  • Animal Skins Prepared For Cooking
    Animal skins from cows, pigs, and sheep are scraped of fat, which is then cooked and melted for storage. The oil is later sold across different provinces, eventually used in food for human consumption. (The following images originally appeared on the Chinese Central Television [CCTV] investigative-reporting show "Jiaodian Fangtan.") CCTV-1/Xinhua
  • Cooking Vats For Digou Oil
    Oils are released through rudimentary processing and boiling of animal carcasses. CCTV-13/Xinhua
  • Cooking Vats For Digou Oil
    Oils are released through rudimentary processing and boiling of animal carcasses. CCTV-12/Xinhua
  • Oils And Fats Cooled And Solidified
    Prepared oils and fats are allowed to solidify before being stored in containers for delivery or storage. CCTV-1/Xinhua
  • Tools And Conditions In Digou Oil Workshop
    Unhygienic conditions add to the health risks and ill effects of consuming unsanitary oils. CCTV-1/Xinhua
  • Solidified Oil In Cooking Vats
    Animal fat, allowed to solidify, shows particulate matter. CCTV-13/Xinhua
  • Animal Parts Used In Illegal Cooking-Oil Production
    Animal carcasses from cows, pigs, and sheep: Bo Xuejun, a public order vice-brigade chief for the Jinhua municipal police in Zhejiang province, told Chinese investigative reporters that some operations were producing oil by boiling rotten carcasses collected and bought from local slaughterhouses. CCTV-13/Xinhua
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National media in China have released shocking photos collected from investigations into black-market cooking oil produced from garbage, food scraps, and even dead animals.

China has a large and pervasive underground market for purchasing, delivering, and manufacturing illegal cooking oil. Digou oil -- variously translated as sewage oil, gutter oil, or ditch oil -- is commonly extracted through boiling and refining garbage or leftover foods. Oils released through this rudimentary processing are then skimmed off and collected.

It is later sold to restaurant and hotel kitchens or street vendors for meal preparation, often through third-party retailers.

Most people who use digou oil turn to it to cut costs, buying it from illegal sources.

The disturbing phenomenon has been a leading story in China recently, making headlines even in a country where scandals related to food safety have become commonplace.

Chinese citizens are deeply concerned. Their country has been continuously producing embarrassing stories related to poor quality and criminal negligence in food production.

In an operation on Tuesday, the Chinese Public Security Bureau, or state police, shut down 13 black-market operations across six provinces, arresting more than 100 people. More than 3,200 tons of the rancid oil were confiscated and destroyed.

Animal Carcasses

However, the recent event marked a completely new development in the digou oil story.

Bo Xuejun, a public order vice-brigade chief for the Jinhua municipal police in Zhejiang province, told Chinese investigative reporters that some operations were producing oil by boiling spoilt beef, pork, and lamb collected from rotten animal carcasses, skins, and internal organs -- collected and bought from local slaughterhouses.

Hua Jingfeng, a vice-bureau chief of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, told Chinese reporters that the problem of digou oil stems from a lack of development in China's treatment of garbage and waste.

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