China Shocked to Learn Cooking Oil Transported in Unclean Chemical Tanks for Years

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A new scandal has surfaced in China involving the use of tank trucks to transport both chemicals and cooking oil without proper cleaning, sparking significant public outrage. This alarming issue emerged approximately a decade after the widespread crackdown on the reuse of gutter oil in Chinese eateries.

The controversy erupted following an investigative report by Beijing News on July 2, which unveiled that numerous tank trucks were being used to carry edible oil immediately after transporting chemicals meant for coal-to-liquid processes. Han Futao, the journalist behind the story, highlighted that these trucks did not undergo cleaning between shipments.

One specific incident described involved a truck in Hebei province that carried chemicals to Qinhuangdao, and then traveled to Sanhe to transport soy oil just days later. Some drivers admitted to Beijing News that this practice of not cleaning tanks between loads is a common approach for cutting costs, known widely among companies owning thousands of these vehicles.

According to the report, this risky cost-saving tactic is occasionally extended to include the carriage of industrial wastewater prior to distributing edible oils. Han noted that these substances are not labeled as flammable or hazardous; otherwise, they would require transportation in specialized tanks as per Chinese regulations.

The lack of enforcement of national guidelines, which advise but do not mandate the exclusive use of dedicated tank trucks for edible substances, has fueled the public’s frustration. Viral discussions on social media have criticized these lax regulations, and many are calling for stricter enforcement to ensure food safety.

The distress has escalated as internet users recalled similar prior warnings and incidents, indicating that this has been a dangerous practice for more than a decade. Following the explosive report by Beijing News, other state media and commentators have strongly criticized the industry practices, questioning the efficacy of existing laws and regulations in protecting public health.

In response to the rising public concern, Sinograin, the state agency overseeing China’s grain and oil reserves, announced an investigation into the misuse of tank trucks. However, online commentators are demanding broader inquiries, doubting the effectiveness of probes conducted within the same governmental framework.

This episode has reignited long-standing issues of food safety in China, where past scandals involving dangerous additives in food products have led to widespread distrust in commercially sold food, inspiring government campaigns aimed at enhancing food security across the nation.

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