The Shandong Gutter Oilman

Caixin’s Xie Haitao profiles Shandong gutter oil tycoon Liu Liguo, who stood trial last month.

It’s oil with an extra something, but there’s nothing virgin-like about it. Pumped from sewers outside of restaurants, or pressed from trash, the oil is born from waste holes both human and mechanical.

Known as “gutter oil” in China, it’s commonly used at greasy spoon restaurants and canteens, many of which purchased the cheap oil processed by businessmen like Liu Liguo.

[…] The largest case of gutter oil manufacturing to date, Liu’s story began with a modest biodiesel facility that later gave way to companies which sold off as much as 12,000 tons of the waste as cooking oil and raked in nearly 100 million yuan in sales since 2007. Though the oil can resemble edible oil, it can contain carcinogenic compounds and hazardous chemicals.

[…] A woman surnamed Feng from a nearby village said that Jinan Gelin Bioenergy was a heavy polluter. “It smelled like rotting dogs. The stench assailed the nostrils until you retched, and then your head ached.” After the plant went into operation, roses planted nearby withered and died. Fruit on nearby trees turned black and fell to the ground. Rabbits and chickens died of respiratory tract infections. The local residents petitioned authorities several times to no avail.

See more on food safety via CDT and the entry for “ditch oil” (“gutter oil”) on CDT’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon.


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