In the latest installment of food contamination scandals, China has seized more than 100,000 duck eggs processed with industrial salt, the China Daily reports.
The salted duck eggs were being processed with the cheaper industrial salt, which can contain harmful concentrations of lead and arsenic, and poisonous nitrites; consumption of industrial salts can cause dizziness, headache, fatigue, difficult breathing, vomiting, diarrhea and can lead to death.
The producer, who did not have a permit, had somehow obtained access to industrial salt, which is only available to licensed industrial businesses. Industrial salt has a retail price of 800 yuan per tonne (€100 per tonne), in contrast to 1400 yuan per tonne for consumable salt (~€172 per tonne).
The eggs were found at a workshop in Jiangmen, in the southern province of Guangdong, along with two tonnes of industrial salt and a further 52,500 unprocessed eggs. In the same province this year alone industrial salt has been discovered in soy sauce, cooked meat, eggs, and preserved vegetables. In 2006 two people died and 20 were poisoned after consuming eggs processed with industrial salt, that contained a high amount of barium. In Shanghai one person died and 25 were poisoned after eating food prepared with industrial salt.
Several workshops have been uncovered packaging industrial salt into bags labelled as edible salt.