Wang Chengkui was sentenced to life-imprisonment by a Jiangsu Province court on Wednesday for profiting from the sale and production of gutter oil, Xinhua reports. He will cede his political rights for life and of his assets will be confiscated.
The “poisonous, harmful” oil reportedly included stomach-churning ingredients such as the skin and buttocks of chicken and duck and pig offal. Gutter or swill oil is so named as it is often collected from sewers and gutters behind restaurants and repackaged for consumption.
Wang’s Kangrun Company sold tainted oil to over 100 food producers and processors in Anhui, Sichuan, Chongqing and Beijing between January 2011 and March 2012, earning a total of 60 million yuan in profit. Fourteen other people associated with the company will serve jail sentences of up to fifteen years and pay up to 5 million yuan fines.
This high-profile case seems to be part of a larger crackdown on unsafe food practices and gutter oil production specifically; two Shanghai restaurant owners were sentenced for reusing cooking oil in March of this year. It is unknown if this will deter fraudsters from what is evidently a highly profitable enterprise.
However, waste oil will hopefully have a safer (and more sustainable!) future ahead. Shanghai authorities recently announced plans to turn used cooking oil into auto-fuel for public transport within the next two years.