Why do you think they call it Soylent Green?

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Interfax says China's government is cracking down on condiment makers after exposing soy sauce producers, on state-run television, using human hair in their product:

China Central Television (CCTV), the state television station, first raised public worries over the quality of domestic soy sauce by uncovering a substandard workshop in central China's Hubei Province, where piles of waste human hair were found. The hairs were treated in special containers to distill amino acid, the most common substance contained in soybean sauce…

By producing soy sauce from such raw materials, the producers were said able to cut costs by half. Workers employed at the plants, however, never bought soy sauce marked as "blended" on the packaging, because that usually meant that human hair was the basic material in the sauce.

Soy sauce made from human hair is not the first low-quality food product exposed by state television, which launched a program called "Weekly Quality Report" around half a year ago. The program, which conducts investigations into the low quality of some of China's most common food products, has frequently ruined the public appetite.

"The government has now ordered an immediate inspection of all domestic food seasoning plants before the end of January," says Interfax.

Related story from the Hong Kong Standard.

Encouraged at China's new openness to public concerns? Appalled at the state's scapegoating of entrepreuners? We report, you deride.

NEXT: Cracking Down on the Sober Driving Epidemic

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  1. I would imagine (although I don't know much about China, in reality) that the government stepping up it's public health concerns is about as good as can be expected considering there's probably not a lot of private 'watch-dog' groups there. Obviously that's due to the fact that the state doesn't want state-run companies being investigated by the public.

    I would be curious to know how much, if any, privatization has occured in China. That may change my opinion somewhat, of course.

  2. government media doing an exposes on government industry prompting a government crackdown... yeah that'll work

  3. Im sure it tastes great on boiled pine needles and BBQed dog.

  4. It takes a truly obnoxious jackass to bring up puppy dogs and Kim Chi just because there were two posts in a row about Asian cuisine, and I'm just the obnoxious jackass to do it.

  5. Has China considered dumping condiments onto the North Korean market?
    Would it drive down pine needle prices?

  6. What about a human hair liquor, with lots of amino acids and vitamins?

  7. Shultz,

    Go to Harbin sometime - they "moose nose" there (literally it is a chopped off moose nose). I was served some once - the idea of eating another animals mucus membranes made the dish rather unpalateable.

  8. they serve "moose nose"

  9. "but my cash flow is a slow trickle right now due to a full-time art student in the family"

    "right now"? You think this will change after graduation?

    🙂

  10. Speedwell--

    You won't eat meat but you'll use Kitchen Bouquet? I don't care if they say it's basically sugar and water. That stuff is nasty.

    I wouldn't mind eating something that came from bird shit. The human hair thing, though, smells a little like cannibalism, so to speak. And what about the Categorial Imperative? Libertarians generally don't approve of using people as ends in themselves, right?

  11. yeah, i use extra firm. so do i press it, then freeze it, and then press it again? or just freeze it off the bat and press it while it thaws?

  12. "i find it doesn't absorb as much flavor as i'd like"

    My advice is to switch to something with some sort of flavor of its own. Prefferably one that you like.

  13. so you don't marinade meat? i marinade meat. meats have flavor, but everything can be improved upon.

    like, duh. besides, tofu is yummy when done correctly. i just want to pu-pu-pu-pump it up!

  14. I too marinade meat. That might be a good thing to switch to.

    You could also switch to celluloid sponges, they probably hold more of the flavor you're trying to impart to the tofu, but with a more palate pleasing consitency. Add some protein powder for nutrition, and have some nice soy milk if you're looking for isoflavones (or whatever the magic ingredient is that makes tofu so healthy while it's busy causing brain damage.)

  15. I used to use KB but I don't anymore. Now I make a mushroom/tamari reduction if I need color and beefy flavor.

    No, you don't have to press before freezing. In fact you don't even have to unpackage it first (it takes longer to thaw that way but it takes fewer brain cells). You can literally squeeze the water out instead of pressing.

    JDM, gotta reference for that brain-damage crack? All I know about soy products is that there is a trace compound that inhibits the metabolism of certain proteins, but that is largely inactivated by cooking and almost totally inactivated by the long-term fermentation by which natural miso and soy sauce are made.

  16. I don't actually know if the brain damage thing panned out, but there was a study linking high consumption of tofu (not all soy) to early senility, and decreased brain mass (I think.) It was a year or so ago.

    Here's a link to some nut who writes a lot about how soy is the world's greatest evil. I'm not vouching for him, but it's the first thing that came up when I googled:

    http://www.mercola.com/article/soy/

  17. One of the side benefits from being one of those looked-down-upon vegetarians is that you get very picky about what you put in your body. Another one is that since you aren't buying fancy, pricey cuts of meat anymore, you can afford to buy better quality other-things.

    The only soy sauces we use at our house are either Kikkoman or organic tamari. We make our own miso (it is as easy as making pickles) and tofu (similar to cottage cheese).

    Well, hell, we LIKE tofu. And it's Atkins-friendly. You should try it.

  18. Dinner party at speedwell's place!

  19. Ahem. The point of all that was that we take personal responsibility for what we eat, as much as possible. Since it's not possible to personally supervise the raising and slaughter of our meat (we live in the big, big city), we don't eat it. Since far less can happen to contaminate vegetables, we prefer to eat those.

    If everyone was as picky about food purity as we are, the people who contaminate and adulterate food would go out of business.

  20. I know. Just here to give you a hard time. It's a requirement in the H&R comments by-laws somewhere, I'm pretty sure.

  21. I posted my second comment before I saw your first comment, lol. I'd be happy to invite everyone for dinner but my cash flow is a slow trickle right now due to a full-time art student in the family... 🙂

  22. hey speedwell, what's the best way to prepare tofu for a stir fry? i marinate it after pressing as much of the water out with plates as i can, but i find it doesn't absorb as much flavor as i'd like. any tips?

  23. dhex --

    How about a marinade of pine needles, hair, and bird guano?

  24. dhex, make sure you are using firm Chinese-style tofu (coarser texture like cheese) rather than Japanese-style tofu (smooth texture rather like pudding or jello). The smooth kind won't press or absorb flavor.

    Something else you can do that will maximize texture as well as improve sauce uptake is to freeze your block of tofu (again use the Chinese-style kind for this). When thawed and the moisture squeezed out, the resulting firm, slightly chewy tofu will soak up flavor like a sponge. Crumbled and pan-fried with onion, parsley, and tamari (a bit of Kitchen Bouquet helps too), it makes an acceptable hamburger meat substitute for spaghetti or Hamburger Helper.

  25. Paul Z: I understand that's an excellent remedy for the Marthambles.

  26. For a very interesting, rather controversial, and yet very old opinion on this sort of food, check out Emil Fischer's 1902 acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Dr. Fischer, for those who don't know who he is, was a pioneering researcher in synthesis of carbohydrates and purine bases. His work not only elucidated various elements of biochemistry, but furthermore established the spatial configuration of carbon bonds and proved the atomic theory of matter beyond a shadow of a doubt. A very important chemist, indeed, legendarily skilled at the most difficult syntheses and a great theoretician as well.

    Anyway, in this speech, the great man mentions the synthesis of the alkaloid caffeine, a recent discovery at the time and a matter of great commercial importance, as coffee and tea were expensive then. He proposed that, in the coming century, we'd all be drinking artificial coffee made with caffeine synthesized from bird guano! Dr. Fischer argued that, after the chemical transformations, it wasn't the same thing anymore so why would anyone be grossed out? And he argued that we'd get used to chemically-produced food - as indeed we have. He was only incorrect on the specific matter of caffeine being synthesized - the market for decaffeinated coffee also provides an abundance of extracted natural caffeine for many purposes, no bird-guano required - but he was correct that we'd all be happy eating food with ingredients produced from petroleum, agricultural byproducts, and other disgusting things, by the magic of chemistry. I mean, "artifial flavoring" means a chemical synthesized from petroleum, nobody really cares.

    Preparation of the amino acid cysteine from human hair is a common laboratory exercise. In the "bad old days" when chemists dealt with pounds rather than grams, people would hydrolyze great pots of barbershop sweepings... the old kilogram-scale recipes are easy to find. Cysteine is an essential amino acid, it can provide vital protein to people with otherwise deprived diets, and I don't see why the "ick" factor should prevent people from doing the best they can to feed themselves. As Mr. Fischer says, once you reduce birdshit to uric acid, convert the uric acid to caffeine, it's no longer birdshit. And once hair is cleaned, hydrolyzed in boiling lye, and crystallized into pure cysteine, it is no longer hair. I'd eat it.

  27. speedwell,

    If you haven't tried it already, you'd probably like Bragg's Amino Acids. It tastes like soy sauce or tamari, only *much* richer in flavor. You can buy it in a spray bottle and spritz it on anything.

  28. And where, pray tell, do those amino acids in Braggs come from?

  29. JDM: Maybe THAT explains California! 🙂

    Sprinkle curry on your tofu. Curry in the diet is supposed to prevent Alzheimer's.

  30. Hm.

    If they made soy sauce out of the hair of heavy pot users, could you get high from it?

  31. -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: HORROR! CHINESE COOK AND EAT ABORTED HUMAN BABIES

    Godless Chinese Eat their young.
    This is G o o g l e's cache of http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/2001/2001-July/012373.html
    In a matter of a few minutes, when this was posted on the APFN board, I
    was able to find out these pix were really a performance art piece by a Hong
    Kong artist. This pops up every few months on Xtian Right lists. This Hal
    Turner Show, more recently on their website, published another hoax,
    supposed gang rape photos by the New Black Panther Party of the late Khalid
    Muhammed, if memory serves. ("We don't owe [the whites] nothing in South
    Africa. . . we give him 24 hours to get out of town, by sundown. That's all.
    If he won't get out of town by sundown, we kill everything white that ain't
    right (inaudible) in South Africa. We kill the women, we kill the children,
    we kill the babies. We kill the blind, we kill the crippled (inaudible), we
    kill 'em all. We kill the faggot, we kill the lesbian, we kill them all."
    http://pub2.ezboard.com/fwgowtalkradio.showMessage?topicID=5.topic
    http://www.adl.org/sih/SIH-black_student_groups2.html
    Here from far right huckster, Anthony Hilder is the audio clip, of Muhammed,
    (see the URL with /video/
    http://www.freeworldalliance.com/videos.htm
    scroll down to, "Hitler vs. Hilder, "Kill The White Man!)
    click takes a few minutes to download into your Real Audio player or
    whatever you use...)
    Intro to "Kill the White Man"
    "Abdul Muhammad Raves about Killing the White Race"
    4.4 meg - 51 seconds of quarter screen video
    http://www.freeworldalliance.com/videos.htm
    http://www.freeworldalliance.com/newsflash.htm)
    Hilder talks about the Skull and Bones Society"
    1.4 meg - 16 seconds of quarter screen video
    Hilder talks about the Ford Foundation and how
    Muhammad was funded by them."
    3.8 meg - 44 seconds of quarter screen video
    XXX - RATED - DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN SEE THESE PICTURES XXX
    XXX - HORROR! CHINESE COOK AND EAT ABORTED HUMAN BABIES XXX
    http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=149495&article=1649
    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: HORROR! CHINESE COOK AND EAT ABORTED HUMAN BABIES
    Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 14:21:33 -0700
    From: spiker
    To: (Recipient list suppressed)
    Source:
    Hal Turner Show
    http://www.halturnershow.com/
    HORROR!
    CHINESE COOK AND EAT ABORTED HUMAN BABIES
    http://www.halturnershow.com/horror.htm `
    Photo #1
    http://www.halturnershow.com/GookBreakfast1.jpg
    Photo #2
    http://www.halturnershow.com/GookBreakfast2.jpg
    ===========================================================================
    WHY IS ALL REPEAT "ALL" MAJOR MEDIA NOT INVESTIGATING THIS INFORMATION?
    OKC = ELOHIM, TERROR, AND TRUTH - William F. Jasper, Thu May 17 11:30
    ARA & Elohim City, and the OKC Bombing - APFN, Thu May 17 15:26
    Release of FBI Files in McVeigh Case Only Tip of Iceberg - New American
    Oklahoma City, Government-Paid Neo-Nazis, and the FCC - J. Orlin Grabbe
    http://disc.server.com/Indices/149495.html
    The Aryan Republican Army, Elohim City, and the OKC Bombing
    http://www.apfn.org/apfn/ara_okc.htm
    THE NEW AMERICAN: Issues in Focus
    Oklahoma City Bombing
    http://www.thenewamerican.com/focus/okc/index.htm
    Oklahoma City Bombing Cover-Up
    ATTN: MAJOR (TRUTHFUL) MEDIA:
    http://www.apfn.org/apfn/okc_coverup.htm
    Index for The John Doe Times Volumn 5 -
    J.D. CASH'S LATEST BLOCKBUSTER: STRASSMEIR
    Despite a whole host of international treaties and conventions establishing
    procedures for transatlantic cooperation between the two governments in
    criminal investigations, once again it seems Strassmeir is immune to such
    inconveniences.
    http://xld.com/public/jdt/jdindx5.htm
    DID TIM MCVEIGH KNOW AND MEET PAUL FATTA THE WACO GUN
    DEALER AT DIFFERENT GUN SHOWS?
    DID THE PEOPLE FROM ELOHIM CITY KNOW THE PEOPLE FROM
    PLASTINE, TEXAS (BRANCH DAVIDIANS)?
    WHY IS ALL THIS INVESTIGATION FROM THE MEDIA BEEN KEPT
    SECRET?
    WHAT IS THE REAL STORY BEHIND OKC BOMBING AND IT'S DIRECT
    RELATIONSHIP TO THE EVENTS AT WACO, TEXAS.
    FBI AGENT DON LEONARD KILLED IN THE OKC BOMBING, KNOW!
    WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ALL THESE EVENTS AND
    FORT SMITH, AR?
    "WE ARE APT TO SHUT OUR EYES AGAINST A PAINFUL TRUTH... FOR MY PART,
    I AM WILLING TO KNOW THE WHOLE TRUTH; TO KNOW THE WORST; AND TO
    PROVIDE FOR IT." ---- Patrick Henry
    http://www.apfn.org/apfn/apfncont.htm

  32. considering i eat tofu once a week, i'm not too concerned about brain damage.

    i came up with this: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,353660,00.html

    and not much else. it seems to implicate isoflavones, which involves a lot more products than just tofu. a lot of other links i saw were for anti-GM activists blaming "bad soy" on pesticides and agribusinesses. weirdness.

    that braggs stuff is fucking amazing on popcorn, btw. it shouldn't be, but it is.

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