If you’re planning on going to China sometime soon, you might want to read on. But just a warning, you might feel a little sick.

More than a year ago, the USDA permitted domestic chickens to be sent to China for processing before being shipped back to the United States for human consumption.

While the practice might sound disturbing, it hasn’t been limited just to poultry. Indeed, salmon is being subjected to the same process. The exposure of American animals to Chinese food processing is cause for concern – the country has had its food and health criticized for falling below reasonable standards.

Larger numbers of people have started avoiding foods brought in from China. Here are some of the country’s most notable ‘toxic’ foods that has lead to its dubious reputation.


1.Clement Walnuts

Imagine, walking home with a bag of walnuts as part of your weekly grocery store trip. You open some up for a quick snack and find that the shells are not filled with nuts. Instead, they are filled with something you don’t usually find in your pantry.

This is precisely what happened to a man several years ago. Visiting Zhengzhou, the man purchased some walnuts from a street vendor. After arriving home, he realized the shells had been filled with concrete.

The vendor, it seems, was motivated by profits. Walnuts are measured by weight. It appeared that the vendor had stopped anyone from discovering his strange scheme by wrapping each piece of concrete in newspaper. The things that some people will do to make a quick buck.


2.Imitation Eggs

Want to make some extra cash selling artificial produce? Simply go online, do some quick research and you’ll find Chinese websites offering video tutorials for how to make and sell fake eggs and earn $70 per day doing so. The websites suggest using the following compounds for making the fake eggs: alginic acid, gelatin, potassium alum, artificial colors, calcium chloride and water.

The scary part of this story? Consuming these eggs may put you at risk of Alzheimer’s and memory loss. The worse part? They’re not that easy to distinguish from the real thing.


3.Fake Green Peas

Authorities seized fake peas in Hunan nearly ten years ago. At the time, the local media reported that even after boiling them, the peas remained hard. The water they had been boiled in had also turned green – not the usual result of cooking the popular vegetable. The fake peas contained the following: soy beans, snow peas, green dye, sodium metabisulfite (a preservative). Not exactly your typical vegetable. Not only is there talk about the fact food dyes are increasingly unsafe to consume, the metabisulfite is known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Okay, Chinese authorities might be refusing to crack down on these fake products because no one has DIED from them – but that doesn’t make them safe to eat.


4.Pork-based beef

Eaten beef in a Chinese restaurant recently? Chances were you actually ate some pork. Pork is considerably cheaper than beef, hence its popularity. In order to alter its taste and appearance however, it is put through a chemical treatment process that is not exactly safe. Restaurants are known to use a glazing agent and beef extract to marinate the pork for up to 2 hours. The chemicals are said to cause poisoning, deformity and even cancer after prolonged use.


5.Fake Instant Baby Formula

According to CBS News, in 2004 almost 4 dozen people were caught making fake baby formula. The worst part? Authorities only intervened after a child died in Fuyang, China.

It was revealed that there wasn’t just one product that was problematic. In the crackdown that followed, authorities banned 55 brands of cheap milk powder after they were found to contain only tiny fractions of the amounts of protein and other nutrients required in baby formula. Not only did these products cause malnutrition, but “two twins were so swollen that their eyes were sunken and doctors were unable to draw blood from their limbs.”


6.Industrial Salt instead of Table Salt

It’s no surprise that industrial salt is extremely cheap compared to table salt as it is made for use in chemical reactions and not designed for human consumption. It can contain alarming amounts of heavy minerals, which may lead to problems in the immune system, reproductive system and thyroid glands. Last but not least, it’s also a carcinogen.


7.Fake noodles

In 20011, some people started reporting that their noodles were odd-tasting. It was soon revealed that 5.5 tons of fake sweet potato noodles had been made and sold in Zhongshan, China. The sweet potato noodles contained not only corn and paraffin wax, but also industrial dye and black ink that was used to give the noodles a purple color. Such colorings are known to cause organ damage


8.Muddy Pepper

One of the strangest items on this list comes from China’s Guangdong Province, where a market vendor sold local mud as black pepper. It only made sense that he also sold flour as white pepper. Speaking to local media, he stated that he felt his products were fit to sell because they “would not kill people.” Doesn’t exactly make up for the deception, does it?


9.Plastic Rice

Authorities in China have warned that 9 out of 10 million tons of Wuchang rice sold in the country each year is fake. Studies showed that it contained synthetic resin and potatoes. Like with the fake peas also mentioned, the plastic rice remained hard when boiled too.

Korea Times warns, “Eating three bowls of ‘plastic rice’ is the same as eating one vinyl bag.” No surprise that this can lead to digestive problems and, with prolonged consumption, even death.


10.Useless Ginseng

Ginseng is used all over Asia as a herbal tonic, and has been used in China for over 3,000 years for medicinal purposes.

It’s not surprise that sellers have tried to exploit its popularity. Sellers in the country have started boiling ginseng in sugar and water to increase its weight, thus increasing their profits. China.org reports that this practice was motivated by the increase in price of the root. Such a practice however removes almost all of ginseng’s medicinal properties, in addition to increasing sugar content by 70%. Normal ginseng should only be around 20% sugar.


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