You Could Be Buying Toxic, Fake Food Products Sold Under Brands Like Maggi And Lee Kum Kee
In a shocking turn of events, the world has uncovered one of the biggest food scandals that saw the production of fake seasonings using illegal ingredients. This elaborate operation was hidden from public knowledge for at least 10 years.
A recent newspaper investigation by Beijing News found that a massive underground business in Tianjin, China has been making fake-branded sauces and flavourings using illegal ingredients like industrial salt that can be harmful to human health.
The report that was published on 16 January has revealed some horrifying details about how recycled spices are used to make bogus products in the midst of growing global concerns related to food fraud.
The usage of tap water and industrial-grade salt in the production of those fake famous goods is a worrying fact, considering China has banned them from human consumption due to the fact that liver and kidneys can be damaged because of the presence of cancer-causing agents and heavy metals.
In addition to that, banned colouring was also used in the manufacturing process.
Not only were the fake goods made with harmful ingredients, but they were also produced in an equally disgusting environment
A crackdown at a factory in the little town of Duliu in the Jinghai area of Tianjin revealed that the culprits made counterfeit soy sauce by mixing harmful ingredients together in large plastic buckets with garden hoses.
Additionally, it was reported that recycled by-products from other food manufacturers were "found in disused yards at the melon seed factories with rubbish piled nearby".
The investigative report also revealed that Nestlé's Maggi seasoning sauce, which is commonly used in Asian households, is one of the most popular item that was counterfeited
Lee Kum Kee, a well-known brand famous for its oyster sauces, along with Unilever's Knorr (that makes chicken cubes and condiments) and Haday, were not spared from this syndicate that produces about 100 million yuan (RM65 million) worth of counterfeit products every year.
It's indeed frightening to know that these unscrupulous perpetrators would do all sorts of things in the name of profit
The manufacturers have gone lengths to ensure the public is convinced by making sure that everything is copied down to the last detail.
Using the same packaging as their branded counterparts is one thing, but these manufacturers also took an extra step to copy and use QR barcodes from genuine products on their own counterfeit items.
Clearly, the profit margin for selling those bogus products can be really significant as producers have allegedly earned so much money from this business that they are able to drive around in Porsches.
After going unnoticed for so many years, the China local authorities have finally nabbed several people believed to be involved in the syndicate
According to media reports, the police have raided a premise that was manufacturing the fake goods and arrested a few people in the process while the materials and equipment were also seized.
It was also reported that they are currently probing close to 50 factories in Tianjin, China as the Chinese authorities formed a joint legal enforcement team of about 180 people to investigate the scandal.