How To Make A Counterfeit Egg, China Style

UPDATE: It’s possible this story is a hoax. BoingBoing compared believing it to believing in eBayed unicorns.

In China they even make fake eggs and sell them to people to eat, according to a report in the Internet Journal of Toxicology.

The above chart shows how to make one.

You don’t need a chicken. Just combine sodium agla acid, water, gelatine, baifan, sodium benzoate, lactone, carboxymethyl cellulose, calcium carbide, lysine, food colouring agent, calcium chloride, paraffin wax, and gypsum powder.

Oh China, what won’t you counterfeit?

There’s been no known cases of these eggs reaching America, but it just goes to show the diabolical depth some Chinese food makers will go to to make a buck, as well as reinforcing the need for stricter inspections of the imported food supply. — BEN POPKEN

Faked Eggs: The World’s Most Unbelievable Invention [The Internet Journal of Toxicology]

RELATED: Oh China [The Liberal Application]
Egg Piracy In China [Paul Tan]
Who’s Monitoring Chinese Food Exports? [WSJ]

Comments

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  1. Pasketti says:

    Calcium carbide?

    The stuff that releases acetylene gas when mixed with water?

    THAT calcium carbide?

    Seems to me that your egg factory would blow up if you’re doing this on a large enough scale.

  2. MentalDisconnect says:

    My fiancee is going to China soon, yet another thing for me to worry about her eating. Oy!


    Anyone have any recommendations on where she should eat to make sure she’s getting real, uncontaminated food?

  3. WV.Hillbilly says:

    When do you add the melamine?

  4. TVarmy says:

    I thought this was a hoax… Most online medical journals had taken this off a few months after it first came out. I think this came from the same guy who did the “Hair Based Soy sauce” thing.

    Then again, I could be wrong.

  5. Pelagius says:

    How on earth is manufacturing an egg from chemicals more cost effective than getting a chicken and feeding it? I have to take the “reported in the Chinese media” sourcing with a grain of salt, given my experiences with the Korean press, which regularly prints stories on the notorious “fan death” syndrome.

  6. nightbird says:

    Ha ha, on the subject of Chinese counterfitting, I was just reading about this item earlier today:

    http://www.engadget.com/2007/05/04/keepin-it-real-fake-par

    Fave line: “It’s just a cat with large ears.”

  7. RandomHookup says:

    The RIAA has already filed a request for a ‘cease and desist’ order.

  8. Ben Popken says:

    @TVarmy: Is it? I’d be interested to know.

  9. Wormfather says:

    @MentalDisconnect:

    This is going to pain me to say, but tell her to look to the Golden Arches. McDonalds has world wide standards for their crap.

  10. DingoDigger says:

    The Internet Journal of Toxicology’s current website no longer seems to list the article. This is the same author credited with the article on human hair soy sauce (in the same journal, article is also no longer listed, available through google scholar’s archive). I cannot say very much for a journal which removes articles instead of publishing a retraction. It certainly smells of a hoax to me.

  11. MaliBoo Radley says:

    It’s not nice to fool mother nature!!

    http://www.kilgoreskitchen.blogspot.com

  12. joeblevins says:

    Chicken Eggs are pretty damned cheap to produce naturally.. Well, maybe not cage free, but you know what I mean.

    Is this real?

  13. phrygian says:

    Even cage free eggs are cheap to produce naturally. I have a very small (suburban) backyard flock that free-ranges. I spend

    Fake eggs? Disgusting!

  14. helen says:

    michel richard, the ubergenius chef based out of DC, has a recipe for “virtual eggs” in his cookbook happy in the kitchen. of course, his are made out of mozzarella “whites” with a “yolk” of yellow tomato gelee. so, you know, different.

  15. Antediluvian says:

    This is nothing — those Cadbury guys have been counterfeiting eggs for YEARS — and are even working on a miniaturization process to boot!

    Are the Chinese fake eggs getting smaller each year? I think not. They’ve got a long way to go to catch up w/ Cadbury.

  16. maddypilar says:

    I eat fake eggs all the time. Egg beaters and all those other egg substitutes. How is this shocking even if it isn’t a hoax?

    • Anonymous says:

      I trust you are not being serious here ? do you really think it is acceptable for ourselves and our children to be fed chemicals and toxic products and at the same time being told that it is a real and natural food? Good luck with the cancer treatment. You should be in politics.

  17. Ben Popken says:

    @maddypilar: Because they’re being sold as real eggs.

  18. kerry says:

    I’ve heard people mention the counterfeit eggs before, so I doubt they’re a hoax. I’ve also hears they can make people who eat them very, very sick.
    Someone once told me that everything is counterfeit in China, I’m starting to think she was right.

  19. esqdork says:

    It’s probably more expensive and time-consuming to create fake eggs, however, these “eggs” will probably never go bad.

  20. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    When i was in the army we had these liquid eggs that cooked up just like real eggs. It was nasty, they came in these huge pouches and they dumped it out on the grill to cook them..mmm..chemically made eggs..

  21. JustThisGuy says:

    @MentalDisconnect: i think you’re being a bit hysterical. her chances of getting food poisoning are about as good as her chances in the states. that said, it’d be helpful if we knew where she was going. china’s a big, big country.

    very general rules of thumb for gwailo tourists: avoid the century eggs. if you can’t read the menu, don’t eat there. if you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. treat street vendors with the same level of suspicion that you’d treat stateside street vendors. otherwise, go nuts.

    just realized: generally speaking, the above is pretty good advice for any given chinatown, as well.

  22. lore says:

    At least there’s no cholesterol.

  23. DingoDigger says:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2006/04/04/egg_piracy_in_china_….

    Boingboing seems to think it’s a hoax.

  24. Nicholai says:

    @WV.Hillbilly: That’s just if you don’t care about repeat business.

  25. The Bigger Unit says:

    Is it an egg or a bomb recipe?

  26. Mills says:

    Who’s looking forward to the Beijing Olympics now?

  27. IC18 says:

    At least with this we can always say the sodium agla acid came first.

  28. MonsieurBon says:

    “There’s been no known cases of these…”

    I think you mean “There have been no known cases of these…”

    “There’s” is a contraction of “there has.” I don’t think you meant to say “There has been no known cases of these…”

    I know this isn’t supposed to be top-notch journalism, but c’mon.

  29. ElizabethD says:

    Ew. I returned to this thread, hoping someone had debunked the synthetic eggs recipe. No such luck!

  30. jaewon223 says:

    I wonder what it tastes like. They should use this stuff for fear factor.

  31. MentalDisconnect says:

    @JustThisGuy: Ha. Maybe I am a bit hysterical. But there’s been story after story of weird food in China, and I was already a bit nervous, so…

  32. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Mills:

    Enough spectators, and possibly athletes die or get ill, and China might get shamed into reform.

  33. This story is an old HOAX. Xeni Jardin of Boingboing.net and I have already talked about it in April 4 of 2006.

    Just because something is posted on the internet, it does not mean it is actually true.

    Ben, I would expect people from Fox News would be suckered into publish such story, but not you.

    http://www.tian.cc/2007/05/hoax-chinese-counterfeit-eggs.h

  34. oldhat says:

    @Tian: But isn’t this just like the Egg-Beater type of substitute? (as mentioned above)

    Meaning it isn’t far fetched…in fact people pay more for fake eggs, um, because they are “healthier”.

    So this is just a case of China bootlegging “heart-healthy” American products, but skipping the bullshit health aspects. Not a hoax?

  35. oldhat says:

    Um, after RTFA…trying to do this with fake shells and every, that’s a hoax. But putting fake eggs into other products is real.

  36. nuton2wheels says:

    @Tian:
    Eh, china’s government is a bunch of totalitarian opportunists with a penchant for catering to the needs of unscrupulous western businessmen and no regard for regulations that concern human rights, the environment, or cleanliness. If they get paid, it doesn’t matter. While some American corporations may be crooked, you won’t be sent to a labor camp for openly disagreeing with their policies. After efforts from china to kill our pets and taint the food supply, would you really expect any better?

    By the way, I’m chinese, so don’t try the race card bs on me.

  37. @oldhat,

    I don’t have a problem with this story if it was indeed true and reported by a credible scientific organization, ie. CDC, FDA, or JAMA, with reliable references.

    However I do have a problem with people post stories without verifying its legitimacy. Especially internet hoaxes and urban legends.

    I have been a long time reader of Consumerist.com and truly value the information it provides. However, by posting this story without adding comments like “smells fishy, but anything is possible”, or “those clever Chinese people, what will they think up next”, it gives this hoax more strength to be passed on.

    To certain point, this is almost like jumping onto a bandwagon after the pet food recall.

  38. @nuton2wheels,

    It has nothing to do whether Chinese counterfeiters agrees with its government’s policies, nor global trade.

    I am simply commenting on if the content of the linked story is legitimate or not.

  39. TheGoodReverend says:

    Tian is right. This is clearly a hoax that has been floating around for a long time, just like the hair soy-sauce story that was mentioned a couple days ago. Time to put an update in the body of the story.

  40. Jesse in Japan says:

    Dude, how much do eggs actually cost in China? That hardly seems worthwhile even if the ingredients cost almost nothing.

  41. @Jesse in Japan,

    According to a recent paper ad of the grocery chain Carrefour in Shanghai, a carton of 15 eggs is 9.90 Chinese Yuan. The current exchange rate between Chinese Yuan and US Dollar is 7.706 Yuan equal 1 US Dollar. Therefore, 15 eggs cost about
    $1.29.

    Keep in mind that Carrefour is one of the richer grocery chains that caters to the Chinese yuppies. Typically you can get the same stuff much cheaper at other grocery stores.

    I have personally purchased eggs in China at the price of 4 Yuan per 500 grams. That is about 47 US cents per pound.


    http://www.tian.cc/2007/05/hoax-chinese-counterfeit-eggs.h

  42. ddsclub says:

    I’m a New Yorker in Shanghai and yes, I’ve seen it all and done it all. The egg story is true. You have to give it to the Chinese to think of crazy ways to do things. They also find ways to bleach the veggies so they look great when you go to the market. They last longer but definetly the chemicals might hurt you.

  43. Ivana Koleva says:

    hm….I have been here for almost 6 years…I wonder how many fake things I have consumed…and how my organism will handle all these chemicals in the long run. May God have mercy on all of us living in China!
    wow…”rapid economic growth” and the “alleviation of hundreds of millions of people from extreme poverty” gotta have a price…people will, unfortunately, have to pay it with their health!