Chinese media outlet Weibo has reported on the appalling conditions of a factory producing a popular Chinese snack called Latiao.
Photos have emerged of unsanitary elements of the warehouse where the snack is made in Kaifeng, Henan province. One such photo (pictured below) shows a barrel of red seasoning containing strange lumps and reportedly emitting a noxious odour. More photos depict workers handling food without wearing masks or gloves, including one woman with a swollen and festering finger using her bare hands at the factory line. The author of the report also claimed to witness another worker failing to wash her hands between using the toilet and returning to work.
The snack, which translates to ‘spicy strip’, is popular with Chinese children and students and sells for 1 RMB (US$0.15) per pack. In 2011, 53 manufacturers of the snack were ordered to shut down by the Beijing Food Safety Committee, yet many continued to operate illegally under new aliases.
This is but the latest in a disturbingly long line of food scandals in China. In 2013, a Kunming factory was found to be using feet-washing water to cook rice vermicelli. Before that, cancer-causing tofu sticks containing bleach were being stocked by supermarkets in Shanghai, while 30 factories using toxic metals to speed up the production of preserved eggs in Jiangxi were shut down by authorities in 2013.