Food safety in China

Anecdotally, at least, China has a terrible track record when it comes to food safety. One horror story involves the cooking oil used by restaurants. It has been said, many more times than once, that cooking oil used in nicer restaurants is sold, rebottled, and reused, at lower-tier restaurants, and then sold, rebottled, and reused again, all the way down the food chain until it reaches unscrupulous street vendors. Taking the horror story one step further: I’ve also heard that some people will rebottle and reuse oil that has passed through the sewage system. The oil will be extracted from the sewage via heating and/or freezing, not exactly an appetizing thought. But only once during my trip did I lose my appetite contemplating food safety in China.

Bottle recyclers in China have a reputation, whether it’s fair or not, of illegally rebottling and reusing cooking oil; Beijing.