October 19, 2013

Optimal adulteration: Subtle food poisoning by cheap Chinese suppliers

I should've known better, given the never-ending stream of news reports of how the Chinese subtly adulterate stuff that they sell to us, in order to keep their costs lower than other countries and fool us gullible Americans who are looking to save a little bit on price. Medicine, drywall, food, it doesn't matter.

Tonight I got a sub-clinical case of neurotoxic shellfish poisoning from eating smoked oysters and smoked mussels that both listed China as the country of origin. Well, at least I hope it's only sub-clinical -- if you don't see any new posts here for a week, it's been fun. And I want my blog to be buried, not cremated like some godless heathen.

I've bought smoked oysters several times in the past week, but I recall them coming from South Korea, and choosing those over the other brands specifically because I didn't want to eat anything that ever went near China. These ones tonight cost nearly half as much, and they were from name brands Napoleon and Crown Prince, so I figured why not try it out.

Famous last words, eh?

Within 10 minutes of digging in, my head felt different, although at first it was more of a buzzed feeling than anything unfamiliar. Then I got so fatigued I had to take an hour nap at like 9pm -- not normal. When I got up, I felt mildly nauseous, though luckily without any intestinal discomfort. I couldn't walk with a normal stride and could only step in shorter shuffles. Couldn't coordinate my arms like normal either. When I spoke, it seemed like every other sentence was marked by a Spoonerism -- like to describe how my head felt, "it's not a starp and shabbing pain..." A couple "p"s turned into "f"s, and "sh"s into "s"s. And speech was awkward and halting. The whole time I felt short of breath, and my eyes were sensitive to light.

I'm better now several hours later, though the headache is lingering.

Will this episode show up in official statistics? Nope, it wasn't bad enough that I needed to see a doctor. Will I write in to the company whose product I bought, or notify the supermarket retailer that had them on the shelves? Nope, not like they'd do anything without a note from the doctor, so to speak.

And so, the cheap Chinese suppliers who defraud and harm American consumers will get off the hook again. It's only when they really botch the job, like loading up their infant formula with junk to increase the protein content, or do likewise to the pet food they sell us, that a scandal erupts.

But as this case tonight shows, those are only the more-extreme events, with less-extreme ones striking us every time we consume cheap junk from China. By now they must be close to mastering the fine art of optimal adulteration of goods. Cram too much junk in it, or leave too much good stuff out, and the symptoms will be loud and clear, and the jig will be up.

But if you don't scam the consumer at all, why, that's perfectly good profit you're throwing away by using unnecessarily high-quality stuff, unnecessarily cleaning the product of potential pollutants. Adulterate the product just enough to save on costs and enjoy a higher profit than your competitors, and so that the harmful effects will be mild enough to go unreported by the suckers who buy the stuff.

If they no complain, they not really sick anyway! Only trying to get back money for acceptable product! Nothing perfect in this world -- so buyer beware! Not our fault if consumer is typical lazy American, and not check safety of the food we sell them!

Boycott all this flimflam bullshit coming out of amoral China. Not only do they deserve it, you'll be healthier for it too.


  1. Feel better, agnostic!

  2. Hope you're feeling better. Get well soon.

    Yeah, my husband brought home some candy that was "FAO Schwartz" brand for the kids. Didn't know they made candy, so I grabbed it and looked it over and it was made in China. A first for me. "Put it up" so as not to insult my husband in front of the kids, but threw it away after an acceptable interval. I'd let the kids eat the cheap Mexican candy before that stuff.

    It was some of the prettiest candy I've ever seen, I'll give them that.

  3. Oysters ain't for anyone. Maybe you just had a reaction for oyster in general. A lot of people can't take shellfish, how are you sure you are not one of them? Even if they put bad oysters in the can, the FDA is supposed to give the final saying in approving it to be sold in the States or not, right?

    Actually, I am all in favor of US boycotting all Chinese goods. I am pretty sure anyone with a remote sense of what's happening right now would not want to associate with a country that's degenerated in the spiral of self-destruction. Buy the Mexican stuff, prepare for the future!

  4. In lieu of burial or cremation, have you considered donating your blog to science?

  5. The brand that I always buy smoked mussels and oysters used to be from Chile, now everything is from China. A pity, as I really liked smoked mussels.

  6. Yes, the Chinese are amoral. But the US food importers who import the poison because it is cheaper are simply evil.

    Not a week goes buy in China when there is not some major food scandal. Fake chicken and beef are constantly turning up. The beef is pork with red dye, I don't know how they make fake chicken. They can make fake eggs and the way to tell the difference is to boil them. The fake eggs bounce. Imagine the ingenuity required to fake eggs. More profitable to cheat people, though, than to use your talents legally.

    I once, around 6 years ago, saw an undercover programme showing a disgustingly dirty factory operation (bascially a shack) which was boiling human hair, the sweepings from barber shop floors, to make fake soy sauce.

    Asshole food companies are still using the plastic additive melamine to fake protein levels in milk powder, years after thousands of babies suffered malnutriction, several babies died and a few middle men were executed.

    Thousands of mainland Chinese cross the Shenzhen/Hong Kong border daily to buy baby milk powder in Hong Kong retail stores. They can buy the exact same milk powder in China from the exact same foreign brands, but they fear that their own retailers will stock counterfeit goods and they don't trust their goverment to enforce the law and catch the crooks.

    As a result, milk powder near the border is more expensive than powder further away and there is a daily quota of what one person can buy, causing tension with the locals who would like to be able to walk to their corner store and buy powder for their babies without hassle.

    If the American consumer understood all this, they would not stand for it. Sure, some have heard the horror stories of the poison pet food and the dry wall giving off gass, the lead paint in children's toys and other issues. However, they trust American food companies and retailers to not poison them. Because of their misplaced trust, the opportunity to make big profits exists.

    I am pretty sure the retailers don't expect to have problems. The food importers will have very convincing documentation that all their Chinese imports have been tested to the strictest standards, standards which may even be more stringent than US produced food standards. They will rely on the documentation and their staff or agents or quality inspectors in China to make sure the food is safe, while at the same time doing their utmost to pay these people as little as possible. If an inspector makes USD1000 per month but monthly shipments are worth USD200,000 in profit to a producer, the producer can triple the inspectors salary (under the table) for just 1% of their profit.

    When you ask them how oysters from China can be cheaper than oysters from America, when America has cheaper energy prices, lower tax and massively higher productivity, a longer coast line and lower transportation costs, they won't be able to answer. They will tell you that labour in China is cheaper. Labour is cheaper in China but most food is made more cheaply in the States. Why are oysters special?

    No, the real problem is the the food importers will poison you so they can buy a larger yatch. The media will not investigate these issues because they want food companies to advertise and would prefer to see you get sick than to lose advertising dollars. The government will protect you but only middle class white people eat Chinese oysters so tough luck, cracka, don't you realise that oysters are raciss?

  7. Damn, I'm glad to see you're back with another post today! Sorry for my absence lately...so much going on. I have a lot to catch up on here!

  8. "Boycott all this flimflam bullshit coming out of amoral China. Not only do they deserve it, you'll be healthier for it too."

    I dont always agree with you, but you're spot on right about this! Get well soon, and watch out for commie seafood...

  9. I ate some smoked oyters from the dollarama--brand name "D" Gourmet---expiry date May 24 , 2017.A few hours after eating this, i felt very weird, and later in the middle of the night felt like i had to go to bathroom.Well , i had the worst case of diarhhea from then on, had a slight fever with chills, very upset stomach...anyhow sure i got food poisoning from this, and will NEVER buy this again! especially from china!


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