Apr 8, 2011

Fake Egg

Fake eggs are still going strong in China. Danwei.org published a small report in 2004 and several blogs reported on fake eggs such as The Raw Feed and Chinaview (in 2007 and 2006), but a look at the stories from Chinese language sources show that the problem is still there, if not bigger than before.

The profit margin for fake eggs, estimated at USD$70 per day, is more than enough for the common Chinese to engage in the business and there’s nothing China’s poor won’t do to get ahead. The list of faulty (or deadly) products coming out of China is long and will continue to lengthen for some time to come. It’s simply a matter of economy and history.

A cursory search of Chinese language news sites brought up more than 8,000 hits for “man-made eggs” including numerous news reports, instructional videos and most galling of all, dozens of ads for training manuals for interested entrepreneurs

In order to tell the difference between man-made and natural eggs, the first method is to inspect the shell. Man-made eggshells are particularly shiny and if the egg is opened, the egg white is not as sticky as a natural egg and is easily mixed in with the egg yolk. There may also be a light chemical smell coming from the egg yolk/white, whereas natural eggs have a fresh smell.

Man-made eggshells are made from Calcium Carbonate. The egg whites and egg yolks are made from the following materials: Alginic Acid, Potassium Alum, Gelatin, Calcium Chloride (with water) and artificial colouring. If fake, the yolk will quickly break up when fried

Man-made eggs are manufactured with chemicals, most importantly through the calcification of Alginic Acid. Man-made eggs are basically solidified gel. Most of the ingredients are additives that are regulated under Chinese law. None of these additives have any health benefits; man-made eggs cannot be considered a viable alternative to natural eggs.

Many of the ingredients involved in the manufacture of man-made eggs come in industrial and commercial forms. Considering the extremely low cost price of man-made eggs, it is uncertain what form of these additives the manufacturers are using. Research has shown that long-term consumption of man-made eggs can lead to memory-loss and dementia.

Check out this Health News Sohu story written by a journalist for the Qilu Evening News in Shandong.

In this story, the journalist follows the trail of one of the ads to a man in Shandong who claims to be the “Father of Man-made eggs”. The man, never named, tells how he charges 800RMB (US$120) per student. In his classes, the “Father” teaches how to make the egg-shell (the most important part of the process) as well as the yolk and white. According to the report, the man has taught college graduates as well as peasants and enjoys a comfortable living — safe from the authorities or anyone else — teaching down and out Chinese how to make fake eggs and get rich.