The next time you consider eating Chinese street food you might think twice.
The use of gutter oil it turns out is pretty common. This refers to a process of pulling waste oil from sewers, grease traps, waste from slaughterhouses, reprocessing it and then selling it as cooking oil.
These screenshots from a Radio Free Asia (RFA) video via Max Fisher at The Washington Post show a woman in Shenzhen pulling slop from a gutter.
The slop then ends up in “processing” plants where it is processed with other animal fat through filtration or boiling.
The oil eventually make its way to “street vendors and hole-in-the-wall restaurants” that use it as “recycled cooking oil.” Watch the entire video below:
Gutter oil is reported to account for one-tenth of cooking oil in China, according to experts cited by RFA. Besides being downright disgusting, the oil is also said to contain carcinogens and other toxins.
China has long battled food safety concerns. But in a country where cooking oil is at a premium, it will likely be a while before officials can effectively crackdown on the practice.