China Pulls Carcinogenic US Pringles From Hong Kong Shelves

Ah, the game is afoot, China! See how the worm turns! Cliché #3 should go here! China has pulled some unofficially imported (from the U.S.) Pringles chips because they contain potassium bromate, a preservative that we Americans happily ingest in order to breed a race of lumpy super-capitalists—but that China, Hong Kong, and other countries have banned “because tests have found it to be carcinogenic.”

Chinese Pringles are usually made in mainland China, and are potassium bromate free; there’s no information on how these U.S. ones made it to their docks.

We’re curious to see what China will come up with for the next round of the Toxic Import War. Don’t mess with us, China—we have Twinkies, which our top scientists are still struggling to chemically decode.

“Pringles taken off sale in Hong Kong in cancer scare” [] [Thanks to Nathan!]
(Photo: jetalone) (We know the Pringles can is probably not using the right ideograms for Hong Kong supermarkets, but the point is that it says “Devil” on it, and we are talking about a U.S. product.)


Edit Your Comment

  1. takotchi says:

    That’s Japanese, which uses mostly traditional Chinese characters. Close enough, I think HK still uses traditional Chinese.

    I think it says “Winter Limited Edition”, and then “demon-like spiciness, numbing deliciousness”. Awkward translation, I know…

  2. howie_in_az says:

    Irony knows no bounds.

  3. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    I want to try some Devil Hot Pringles.

  4. Buran says:

    Gee, maybe the FDA would like to hear about this and do some banhammering here in the US.

  5. DallasDMD says:

    America already puts unhealthy garbage in our food that other nations ban such as high fructose corn syrup, use of growth hormones, and genetically adulterated ingredients.

    I don’t know of China’s claim has any merits or not, but it shouldn’t be shocking that a foreign country balks at our food exports.

  6. CyGuy says:

    Potassium bromate is on California’s Proposition 65 list of known carcinogens and so products containing it must carry a warning label to be sold in the state.

    The wiki page for the additive also states that “since 1991 the FDA has urged bakers to voluntarily stop using it.”

    Maybe this is kind of a tit-for-tat complaint, but I think China has a point.

  7. miborovsky says:

    Sorry America, but it’s China who’s breeding a new race of lumpy super-capitalists.

    Consumerist’s Sinophobic attitude is really getting on my nerves. It’s a great blog about consumers, not about China. You think you’re being funny, but you really just look stupid.

  8. mandarin says:

    Uh oh I just ate some of those last week….

  9. azntg says:

    @Cy Guy: It is a tit-for-tat complaint, but they do have a valid point.

    Sad to think that it’s going to take America forever to get those rather unhealthy ingrediants off the shleves. It’ll probably take a widespread disaster at the very least.

  10. DallasDMD says:

    @miborovsky: I really fail to see how an article criticizing chemicals in USA’s food counts as criticism of the Chinese.

  11. nutrigm says:

    I hate China and their crappy products! >:( Yes, I just got ripped off by a scamming chinese on a b2b site trying to sell me iphones. Caution: Avoid Francesca Chang and Pamela Matias in your iphone ventures! >;(

  12. bohemian says:

    Revenge for tainted pet food?
    If we really want to ratchet it up start sending the food from the USDA school lunch program.

  13. Ariah says:

    Unhealthy garbage?
    High fructose corn syrup – No more “dangerous” than table sugar.
    Growth hormones – Whether or not food products produced by cows injected with BGHs are harmful to humans is being hotly debated. The FDA has concluded that they are not.
    Genetically modified foods – GM foods benefit humanity by improving crop yields and reducing the need for pesticides. There are no unique health threats associated with GM foods, and their production is heavily regulated.

  14. Electroqueen says:

    @Ariah: Man, growth hormone is pretty disgusting. Sure the FDA says that cows with BGH don’t pose any harm to humans, but have you actually seen the cows. When they’re injected, it makes them more suspectible to a disease that cause the udder to enlarge like a balloon. Plus there’s the pus…

  15. Robert Synnott says:

    Hmm, looks like China is dead right in this case. The stuff is banned across most of the developed world, and the FDA has asked nicely that people stop using it.

    Which is odd, really. If they have legitimate concerns, why not just BAN it?

  16. forgottenpassword says:

    well, I find this disturbing. ANd ironic because of china’s propensity to send all kinds of harmfull products to the US. Didnt they just tell us a while back to chill out because it is normal practice to have dangerous products on the shelves? (or something like that?)

  17. HRHKingFriday says:

    @Ariah: Yeah, but have you read about how GM crops are much less sustainable because you have to re-seed every year ($$$ for big seed companies). Plus you end up using MORE petrochemicals for GM crops.

    HFCS is awful for your liver and contains more sugar per ounce than table sugar.

  18. DallasDMD says:

    @Ariah: “High fructose corn syrup – No more “dangerous” than table sugar.”

    There is some good research into this and it suggests that HFCS is even worse for you than refined sugar is and may be responsible for the obsesity epidemic because of the way glucose acts in your body vs. fructose

    “Growth hormones – Whether or not food products produced by cows injected with BGHs are harmful to humans is being hotly debated. The FDA has concluded that they are not.”

    The FDA is subject to heavy lobbyist influence, so the FDA’s stamp of approval on something that is banned across Europe and in many other nations really doesn’t sway me. Even if it is relatively safe, I prefer to drink milk from cows that do not look like this: [] and are much more prone to get sick and require anti-biotics

    “Genetically modified foods – GM foods benefit humanity by improving crop yields and reducing the need for pesticides.”

    Sound farming methods that have been used for thousands of years works just fine.

    “There are no unique health threats associated with GM foods, and their production is heavily regulated.”

    I prefer not to put artificial things into my body, thanks. I also find organic food to taste better. Even if GM food is safe, letting corporations control our food supply and threaten the ecosystem with the release of GM seeds into the ecosystem is a disaster.

  19. Comeaja says:

    At least it wasnt LEAD TOYS or somthing…

  20. louisb3 says:

    @DallasDMD: “Sound farming methods that have been used for thousands of years works just fine.”
    I dunno about GM, but the “thousands of years” argument just isn’t convincing. The only agricultural methods that have been around for thousands of years are turning soil by hand and whatnot – even stuff like letting the ground lie fallow have only been around for hundreds. Regardless of whether GM or pesticides are good or bad, I think I’d rather have sophisticated irrigation techniques, etc., than not.

  21. SoCalGNX says:

    Since they are so particular about what they ingest, maybe they should quit eating cats, dogs, rats, snakes, alligators and whatever other odd meat sources they devour.

  22. kris in seattle says:

    “Devil Hot”. I love it! That is all.

  23. DallasDMD says:

    @louisb3: Ariah gives the false dilemma that we need GM in order to avoid pesticides and implies GM is necessary to produce the crop yields needed to feed us.

    I challenge this view strongly as we have only had GM for a relatively short time in our history and have not had problems, as intelligent farmers, in feeding ourselves.

    I am not against irrigation or mechanical farming at all, however, much of the same wisdom that has been in use for what seems like an eternity is still being applied to farming practices today.

  24. DallasDMD says:

    @SoCalGNX: Are those likely to cause cancer or otherwise be harmful as the chemicals we put in our food? There is a difference between eating food that you consider off-limits or gross and eating food that contains possibly dangerous chemicals.

  25. silvanx says:

    Might be a good development… while they often don’t care enough to sufficiently protect their own citizens, China and the US are more motivated to point out faults with each other’s products… it’s like outsourcing the FDA.

  26. @miborovsky: We’re just now getting on your nerves? I thought you were tired of my so-called sinophobic posts back in September!

    For whatever reason, you are failing to comprehend the meaning of this post. Only by grossly misreading the post above could you think it is sinophobic.

    I’d love to know how you’re reading it and what, in particular, offends you about it. If you care to share and want to take it offline, please just email me at the address in the sidebar. Maybe we can work this out, so that in the future—whether you think I’m funny or not—you won’t keep calling me a bigot.

  27. spruance says:

    Well, I’m looking at two american cans of pringles right now, one sour cream and onion, one regular.

    There’s no potassium bromate in them, at least listed on the label.

  28. woertink says:

    You can also make the “FDA is controlled by the corporations” argument with foreign FDA equivalents as well. Local companies pushing to ban a commonly used preservative in the US in your country would be an effective way to keep American products out of your country, thus preventing competition to the local brands.

    Since the corruption argument works both ways the best way to go about this would be to look at the studies actually done on the preservatives to determine their safety.

  29. SoCalGNX says:

    Per a well known news source today (Yahoo i think..),

    it discussed all the viruses and other problems that come from

    the open markets in China due to eating these things.


  30. RvLeshrac says:


    Tell [] Norman Borlaug that.

    Also, tell the starving masses in Africa, Asia, and South America that we’ve done a great job producing enough food.

    Further, we’ve been genetically modifying crops for thousands of years, cross-pollinating for higher yields, hardier plants, and larger produce. Modern GM methods are simply faster ways of achieving the same result.

  31. RvLeshrac says:


    That’s due to poor sanitary conditions, not variety meats or game meats.

    Snake and alligator are fairly common foods in the US, in areas where they exist in number. Plenty of americans eat squirrels, which are rodents. Lion meat (lions are cats, in case you didn’t know) is uncommon only due to the somewhat ambiguous legal status of killing lions. Wolf meat (not perfectly analogous to dogs, but many species of dogs were bred from wolves) is very rare since they’re frequently protected, but prior to laws limiting the killing of wolves, plenty of them were eaten in the north- and mid-western parts of north america.

    “Odd meat sources” is an opinion, not a fact.

  32. Dervish says:

    @DallasDMD: Mind citing some of those HFCS studies? The blends of HFCS commonly used in foods and drinks are close to 1:1 fructose to glucose, which is what sucrose hydrolyzes to in your body. The studies I’ve read suggests that there’s not a great health difference between ingesting sugar vs. HFCS. Similarly, evidence doesn’t suggest that the rise in HFCS caused the rise in obesity – only that the two trended together.

    As far as GM foods are concerned, there’s a great deal to be worried about in terms of agribusiness, private companies monopolizing our seed stock, cross-breeding and the “need” for ever-increasing yields…but I’ve yet to see any study that suggests that GM corn (or soybeans, or any other crop) is itself harmful. What exactly do you mean by “putting artificial things into ” your body? How do you define “aritificial?” BT is pretty natural, seeing as it’s been around for hundreds of thousands of years.

    I agree that we should be suspicious of modern food. We put a lot of things in our food now that we never have before. But we should do it on the basis of good science, not alarmist slogans.

  33. lincolnparadox says:

    @DallasDMD: DallasMD, just FYI:

    HFCS has the same mixture of sugars as honey. There’s nothing wrong with corn syrup. It’s the fact that processed food uses tons of it to add bulk and improve flavor. HFCS is fine on it’s own. An extra 400g of sugar a day is why we’re all ballooning.

    Growth hormones are bad. No argument there. But, if you’re worried about mucking up kids hormone levels, you had better add soy products to the same list a GH-produced milk.

    GMO foods do need more testing, to insure that they will not cause unusual allergic reactions. But the genes that are added to crop plants are tested. They are grown in plants and then fed to lab animals (sorry PETA, animal testing keeps scientists from killing people). Anything that has an adverse effect in mammals is not pursued. This happens in the early design stages. Now, I’m with you, I won’t go out of my way to eat GMO foods. But, I won’t discount them as bad, and I will say that anything that reduces pesticide use is a step in the right direction.

    Two more facts to avoid cancer:

    Buy organic fruits and veggies. I know, they’re more expensive and you feel like a dirty hippie when you buy them. But pesticides cause cancer. And since most of our fruits and veggies come from countries outside of the jurisdiction of the EPA and the USDA, if you buy organic, you’re buying safe.

    Avoid any food with a benzoic/benzoate or sorbic/sorbate preservative. These have been found to be potentially carcinogenic in yeast. I know, not too scary, but when you consider that this preservative is found in a lot of products, you have to wonder how much poison you can consumer before you hit a carcinogenic level…