Shame on China: Top Chinese Food Scandals - Updated

We Americans are a whiny, complaining bunch. If our spinach is contaminated with E. coli, we raise our flabby arms to the sky and demand that all of those yucky greens be recalled. What we don't understand, and what Republicans have been trying to tell us for years, is we have it damn good.

To prove it, we here at Short Order are making you privy to the food scandals in a country whose food problems make ours look like what Geraldo Rivera found inside Al Capone's vault -- nada, zip, zilch, zero. As described in London's Telegraph -- and expounded upon here -- in China your kids will find toxic waste in their teddy bears and you will eat food fried in sewage. 津津有味! (Bon appétit!)

Bean sprouts
Twelve people were arrested and 40 tons of bean sprouts were seized after it was discovered that sodium nitrate, urea, antibiotics, and 6-bezyldenine had been used to treat the crops. The chemicals were used to make the vegetables grow faster and look shinier. We suppose the antibiotics were used in case the plants got sick from being treated with so many chemicals.

OK, it's a bit wacky on the other side of the planet, but how in hell did the Chinese produce flour that contained aluminum? Authorities in China tested 696 samples of food made with flour, including dumplings and sweet buns, and discovered that about a third of the samples contained high levels of aluminum. Apparently Chinese officials blame the aluminum content on an excessive use of baking powder. Um, are the Chinese sure these are flour-producing companies? Sounds like someone was trying to make crack.

Would you like your pork cutlet rare, medium, or glow-in-the-dark? Some pork was discovered to glow "an eerie, iridescent blue" in Chinese kitchens. The Shanghai Health Supervision Department claims it was caused by contamination from a phosphorescent bacteria and that, once cooked, the pork is safe to eat. Positive outcome? Bloggers dubbed the safe albeit glowing pork "Avatar meat."

Take-out containers

If you're visiting China, you might want to dine in as opposed to getting your order to-go. Disposable food containers were seized in Jiangxi because they contained toxic chemicals that were released as soon as hot food was placed inside them. The chemicals released by the toxic containers had the potential to damage livers, kidneys, reproductive organs, and toilets.

Cooking oil
Be wary of that stir-fry. A professor from Wuhan Polytechnic University went undercover to investigate the use of recycled oil. He found that one in ten meals in China was cooked using recycled oil. Don't get excited -- this isn't the good kind of recycling; this is the "scavenge sewage drains beneath restaurants for used oil" kind of recycling. Yes, that means one in ten meals cooked in China was prepared with "sewer" oil.

This is just a taste of the issues that China has encountered in its food industry. One of the more serious incidents involved the use of the chemical melamine in infant formula, which resulted in the death and illness of more than 300,000 babies. To make it worse, the government remained hushed to avoid embarrassment during the 2008 Olympics.

To sum it up, food producers in the States might sell eggs that were sitting in blood and feces before being packaged, and food packaging companies might use the breast cancer-, diabetes-, and infertility causing-chemical BPA in their materials, but we would never, ever kill cute little babies.

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