Winter is usually the season for hot pot in China. But consumers may need to think twice before they open their mouth this winter.
More than 80 percent of the base for hot pot soup in the Chinese market contains chemical blends, as reported by the Anhui Business Daily yesterday.
Hot pot has become chemical pot. According to the report, there are additives not only in the food to be dipped in the soup, but also in the soup itself. Chili extract, fragrance additives and hot pot red are just some of them.
In Hefei, Anhui Province, there is even a company training employees how to season with both standard flavoring and additives and telling them to mix the two together, the report said. This kind of soup, after being heated for a long time, is very harmful to the human body and possibly even carcinogenic, said an insider in the food industry, as quoted by the Anhui Business Daily.
While there have been many questions from the media, there is no words from the authorities yet about whether these additives are harmful or how harmful they are.
Hot pot is many people's favorite winter food. The departments responsible should not remain silent when public safety is concerned. Anytime chemicals are involved with food and food safety, the relevant government departments should be vocal about any findings or concerns.
These additives, which may make hot pot more tantalizing with pleasing colors and aromas, are undetectable to the untrained eye. Consumers are easily deceived because they lack awareness when it comes to food safety, particularly when they put taste and cost as their priority when dinning.
The government has long fought a battle to improve food safety in China, but there seem to be no tangible results. This latest incident could go viral and create new unflattering buzzwords and chemical jargon like melamine, Sudan Red 1, and so on.
This problem goes way beyond hot pot. The entire catering industry should reflect on the long history of irresponsible actions and attitudes toward food safety.
It is really puzzling to see a country like China that is capable of sending humans into outer space but can't seem to get a grasp on food safety for its citizens.
Profit is indeed important, but profits should not be put ahead of people's health.