We recoiled in horror when we found out that nearly one-tenth of cooking oil used in China was actually cancer-causing “drainage oil” (swill oil/recycled oil) that people had fished out of sewers behind restaurants to reprocess and then resell. Now I’m getting conniptions watching this video, in which intrepid reporters find one of these oil recycling factories here in Shanghai.
The factory is located in Songjiang District and is both a sanitary and olfactory disaster zone. Owing to its somewhat illegal status, its workers do most of their processing by night and are incredibly wary when trucks loaded with barrels full of dirty oil get transferred in. The kicker is that police can’t really shut the operation down – there’s no laws against them “storing” waste oil there and there’s nowhere to put it if they are to remove it.
The Sina report adds Shanghai’s food safety administration has vouched for 99.17% of the oil, saying their regular spot checks show that most food here is safe. But obviously, if factories like this are sitting around, there’s bound to be a considerable amount of bad oil dripping through the cracks.