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In a report by the South China Morning Post, 7 Eleven, Maxim’s Cakes and two products served at Starbucks could have been made with the gutter oil, a vile and illicit cooking substance that is comprised of waste oils from sources such as restaurant fryers, sewer drains, offal, food waste, and the byproducts of leather tanneries. If we thought mooncakes were bad for us, the addition of gutter oil makes them hazardous to the point of serious ill-health.

The Post reported that Maxims had been purchasing the grim viscous liquid from a lard supplier in Taiwan who was arrested Sunday after being found guilty of using tainted products (gutter oil) to mix into the lard that was being distributed to at least 900 bakeries and restaurants in Taiwan. Pineapple buns (counterintuitively devoid of pineapple–flummoxing) and dumplings have been pulled from the shelves until authorities investigate the matter further. Maxims have said they will no longer source from Taiwan, moving their lard endeavours to Holland. Outstanding. However, 46 of the tested products did not contain traces of tainted product, a statement on the Hong Kong Government website stated, which is, comforting…?

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The scandal makes a recent release by Baidu seem even more necessary. Gutter oil in Hong Kong and technology’s answer comes from Baidu engineers, who during their conference last week unveiled a sophisticated antidote to relieve these food related ailments that seem to constantly crop up in China and spread to the greater region. We can recall the recent press around glow in the dark pork, and recent fast food ‘out-of-date meat maladies’. The chopsticks called Kuaisou (筷搜) are highly intelligent and can detect the quality of oil used in your food. A tool such as the Kuaisou would give diners and cookers the security of knowing whether what they were putting in their stomachs was harmful or not. Always valuable really.

They are still very much in the prototype stage, and so we will have to continue to endure hopeless wondering as to what oil from which shoddy supplier will bring about our demise. But the comfort of knowing what’s going into our food, which is fast becoming a necessary demand of consumers worldwide, is soon to avail itself to a Chinese market, which we couldn’t be more pleased about. Although the chopstick is an item that has remained unchanged and usable to all for literally thousands of years, the upgrade seamlessly interweaves technology with tradition, adds safety and shows off in its design. Although finding its inception in a practical joke, we are infinitely glad it was pursed with seriousness, as will be those who employ the chopsticks for years to come. The questionable distributors of lard and their clients, perhaps less so….

Foodie is here for all Hong Kong food related news and events.

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