Food Science at it’s WORST- Bad Eggs: Another Fake-Food Scandal Rocks China

In the latest food scandal to emerge in China, customers are being duped by fake  eggs made out of resin, starch and pigments.

Read more: China: Fake Chicken Eggs Add to List of Fake-Food Scandals |

From tainted baby formula to exploding  watermelons, China has seen its share of food-safety problems. But food  forgery in the world’s most populous country may have recently hit another high — or, rather, another low: fake chicken eggs.

On Sunday, a woman who gave her name as Ms. Tian was shopping at a vegetable  market in Luoyang, in central China’s Henan province, when she noticed a van  selling eggs for about 6¢ cheaper than they were going for in supermarkets, the Guangming  Daily reported. Assuming that the eggs were from a countryside seller  not aware of city prices, she took her chances and bought 2.5 kg of the bargain  eggs — which turned out to be fakes.

Citing an anonymous source, the paper outlined how the fakes were made:  prepare a mould, then mix the right amounts of resin, starch, coagulant and  pigments to make egg white. Sodium alginate, extracted from brown algae, gives  the egg white the wanted viscosity. Then add the fake egg yolk, a different  mix of resin and pigments. Once the proper shape is achieved,  an amalgamate of paraffin wax, gypsum powder and calcium  carbonate makes for a credible shell.

The newspaper asked Yi Junpeng, assistant professor for biological  engineering at Henan University of Science and Technology, for advice on how to  identify fake eggs at market stalls. Yi warned of eggs that are too perfectly  shaped and smooth. Real eggs have a faint smell, he said, which fake eggs lack.  Tapping a fake egg makes a hollower sound than a real egg. Once cracked open,  egg white and yolk would quickly mix.

Fake eggs first appeared in the mid-’90s and production spread all over  China, the state news agency Xinhua reported back  in 2005. At the time, the production cost of a fake egg was half of its real  equivalent. With the proper equipment and materials, one person could produce  1,500 fake eggs per day, another Xinhua report quoted a  fake-egg producer’s website as saying.

China has seen its share of non-egg-related food scares, including cases of  pork colored to be sold as beef, pork that glowed blue, recycled steamed buns  and tofu fermented with sewage. Last year a scandal involving the resale  of “gutter oil” — used cooking oil thrown out by restaurants or scooped from  sewers and peddled to unsuspecting customers — turned stomachs worldwide. In  2008, a massive  tainted-milk scandal killed four infants and sickened thousands of children  across the country.

MORE: Tainted-Baby-Milk  Scandal in China

MORE: FDA:  Nearly 1,000 Pets Sickened by China-Made Dog Treats

Read more: China: Fake Chicken Eggs Add to List of Fake-Food Scandals |

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Maryland Association of Family and Consumer Sciences