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A report that aired on a Chinese television show, illustrated the country’s problem with food regulation and safety. The State TV’s investigation uncovered steamed buns sold on the street made mostly out of chopped cardboard.

The snack, which is called baozi, is normally made with an outer shell of wheat or rice, and it is filled with sliced pork. This vendor made his baozis out of cardboard soaked in an industrial chemical and then filled it with fatty pork and flavor seasoning.

The reporter followed the man back to where he makes his snack and sees that it is run down and filthy. When the reporter asks what is in the recipe, the Chinese man states that it is 60% cardboard and 40% fatty meat.

The bun maker then demonstrated how he makes his product.

Squares of cardboard picked from the ground are first soaked to a pulp in a plastic basin of caustic soda — a chemical base commonly used in manufacturing paper and soap — then chopped into tiny morsels with a cleaver. Fatty pork and powdered seasoning are stirred in.

He tells the reporter that most people cannot tell the difference between his fake buns and the real thing. These operations are very common in China. Vendors can cut costs by using inexpensive ingredients and unfavorable substitutes. This practice is exceedingly difficult to regulate.

For more information on this subject, lease refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.

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