New Chinese ‘SMART CHOPSTICKS’ can help detect bad Olive Oil

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From baby formula tainted with melamine to steroid-spiked pork that glows in the dark, a series of food safety scandals have put China’s food industry under increasing scrutiny. This year international fast-food chains including McDonald’s and KFC have been forced to pull items from their menus after a supplier in China was found to be using expired meat.

Thanks to a tradition of favoring oily food — a symbol of wealth in previous eras — China has become the world’s largest consumer of edible oil. That has led to a large amount of used cooking oil being reprocessed illegally to be resold, earning the name “gutter oil.”

Last year Chinese health expert Zhong Nanshan, who discovered the SARS virus in 2003, told the Yangcheng Evening News in Guangzhou that 7 million to 14 million tons of waste cooking oil was produced in China each year and that about 3.5 million tons of it probably returns to dinner tables through illegal recycling.

Food safety experts said it was too early to celebrate Baidu’s chopsticks as a solution to the problem.

“Baidu Kuaisou seems to only tell one or two indicators in the oil such as its pH level and peroxide value,” said Nong Shaozhuang, a food safety expert from Dalian Polytechnic University. “Such values can be easily manipulated by the gutter oil producers by adding relevant chemicals to give a false safe reading.”

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