The new type gutter oil was made from wasted animal viscera, including pig skin, cattle skin, goat skin, and degenerated internal organs of animals. The picture shows the gutter oil is being processed in a boiler in a shabby workshop.
Zhejiang police said they had found more than 3200 tons of gutter oil, which was made from wasted animal viscera, including pig skin, cattle skin, goat skin, and degenerated internal organs of animals. The gutter oil has been sold to nearby provinces as cooking oil. 100 suspects were arrested accordingly.
April 3, 2011, Hangzhou - Zhejiang police said Monday they have arrested over 100 suspects accused of making a new type of 'gutter oil' in a major food safety crackdown. After careful investigation and action, Zhejiang police destroyed 13 underground shabby oil processing factories and took over more than 3200 tons of gutter oil.
"Gutter oil" previously refers to the oil illegally made by reprocessing waste oil or even leftovers from restaurants, and then marketed and re-used as cooking oil which had aroused grave public concerns.
The new-type was made from dumped animal fat and then reprocessed into edible oil, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Public Security late Monday night.
Waste in slaughtering facility was the raw materials for making gutter oil
Shao Wenzhong, Deputy director of Sumeng Police Station of Jinhua Police Bureau of Zhejiang Province said that the villagers of Sumeng village often smelt a strongly stinking odour and ascertained the source was from a nearby yard, the owner of which is Li Weijian.
After investigation, Police found that there were many empty oil barrels in the yard and thought the odour was very similar to the smell generated from making gutter oil from slops. But the police did not find any slop, instead, there were piles of waste piece of fat, and the fat came from another fat processing plant.
Further investigation indicated that there were not only one but many such gutter oil processing plants around Sumeng village. The animal oil processed was all bought by Li Weijian. The raw materials as the same were waste in slaughtering house.
The new type gutter oil has been sold to Shanghai, Chongqing etc. as cooking oil
After 5 months of investigation, police found that a big part of the processed gutter oil were sold to some oil companies in Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Chongqing and they ended up on the Chinese dining table.
On March 21, police of Zhejiang, Anhui, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Chongqing and Shandong conducted a special unified operation on the extremely large underground gutter oil processing network centered in Jinhua City of Zhejiang Province. Police indicated that the special operation had arrested more than 100 suspects, shut down 13 underground workshop and seized over 3,200 tonnes of such new-type gutter oil.
More details was provided in a separate report from the China Central Television (CCTV) which further disclosed that those animal fat was waste fat from slaughter houses including rotten meat and animal viscera.
Food safety is a problem for China
The ministry pledged to enhance the efforts in safeguarding food safety and battling related offences in the statement.
Several food safety scandals surfaced in 2011, including the "Gutter oil" and cancer-causing clenbuterol added pig feed to produce lean meat.
In response, China launched a nationwide food safety campaign in August 2011 to clamp down on such illegal practices, however the country's food safety authorities are still struggling to set up a reliable methods to verify "gutter oil".