According to China Daily
, the local food safety authority, on May 14, declared it was discovered pig ears being sold in a market located in the city of Ganzhou were artificial and can pose a potential health hazard.
Pig ears are a popular snack in China.
A consumer had purchased the cooked pig ears at the market on March 30, but when he went to eat them, he noticed a terrible odor. The man sent the ears to local officials, and samples were sent off for further testing.
elaborated on the situation, stating the fake pigs ears were made of gelatin and sodium oleate; the latter is a banned additive and is often used in making soap.
"Adding the chemical makes the ears taste better and makes it hard for customers to discover that the ears are actually fake," Fan Zhihong, associate professor of nutrition and food safety at the China Agricultural University, reported Xinhuanet. "Eating an excessive amount of sodium can result in high blood pressure and influence the heart's function."
It was also reported the gelatin may be of an industrial type, which is also a forbidden additive in China, and could pose a serious health hazard.
On Apr. 1, the alleged seller was detained, but it is not known at this time who manufactured the artificial ears. Officials are not releasing the name of the seller.
reported Chinese officials are working steadily to improve food safety, but due to the many scandals that have occurred, the problem still exists. Telegraph notes several scandals which include spraying cabbages with formaldehyde, cooking oil sold from leftovers scooped from gutters and the highly publicized milk scandal
in 2008. Just this week, it was reported
over 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) was paid in compensation for poisonings stemming from the contaminated milk.