Image credit: @prestonrhea.
More terrifying news on the food safety front! The Shenzhen Evening News reports that at least 10 unlicensed duck-processing workshops are operating in Shenzhen using “banned asphalt material” to remove feathers despite significant health risks for consumers.
Asphalt (which contains lead) is banned as a plucking agent as chemical residue left on the birds ban cause stomach, lung and skin cancer.
More than 1,000 ducks are plucked with banned asphalt and processed in Tongle every day, on average, and most of the ducks are then sold at small stores and vendor carts throughout Shenzhen.
Asphalt materials allow unlicensed workshops to more easily remove duck feathers at a high temperature. Many licensed workshops use a resin-based gel for feather removal, but the use of asphalt for plucking has been a problem in parts of China and Southeast Asia since at least 2006, when health officials ramped up inspections in Taiwan.
Seriously, don’t eat duck in Shenzhen:
“Many restaurants and poultry wholesalers were [the workshops’] regular clients. They came to pick up the ducks at about 4 or 5 o’clock every day,” Li said. “The poultry market in the neighboring area was the city’s largest wholesale poultry market, so the community became a gathering place for processing plants, including many illegal workshops.”