The Chinese department of industry and commerce has recently discovered a “beef extract” additive used by small restaurants around Hefei to turn pork into beef.
A lot of knock-offs have come out of China over the years, in fact they’ve probably made replicas of every successful product ever made. That’s not to say the Chinese don’t make original stuff as well, but their talent of replicating pretty much anything is legendary. That being said, I had never heard of Chinese food replicas until a few months ago, when I watched a news report about a guy making completely artificial eggs, using chemicals, right in his own home-made laboratory. Today, as I was surfing the interwebs, I came across and even stranger article about a “beef extract” additive that turns pork into beef, in just one and a half hours.
This “magical” product has apparently become very popular in small Chinese restaurants in Hefei, Fujian, Jianxi and other places around the country, especially since beef is twice as expensive as pork. A pound of beef is sold for around 20 yuan, whereas pork costs just 10 yuan, so some restaurant owners are inclined to buy a liter of beef extract for 45 yuan and use it to maximize profits.
After rumors of the additive spread around China, a reporter managed to get his hands on a bottle of it and decided to document its effect in a photo-report. He found the stuff really worked, in that after just 90 minutes of pouring it over a piece of pork, it already looked and smelled like cooked beef. The meat changes color and becomes darker, and the reporter claims there’s no sensible difference between real beef and the counterfeited version.
While it does put money in the pockets of restaurant owners, doctors say long-term use of additives has serious consequences including deformities and cancer.