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Staggering profits lure traders into waste cooking oil business in SW China


10:01, October 19, 2011

CHONGQING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The recent bust of a waste cooking oil production and supply chain in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality has aroused a new round of public anxiety over the country's food safety.

Waste cooking oil refers to a kind of illegal cooking oil extracted from the kitchen waste that is used to feed livestock.

After a series of procedures, including collecting, preliminarily extracting, speculative reselling, refining and selling, the oil made its way from dirty trash cans to the tables of up-scale restaurants.

Cao Xianhe is an illegal trader who has operated a waste cooking oil business since 2009. After collecting kitchen waste from university cafeterias and restaurants in Chongqing, he boils the waste to extract crude oil to sell as a raw material for cooking oil.

Xu Ke is a peddler who has been purchasing extracted crude oil in Chongqing since 2005, making profits by selling the crude oil to other cities and provinces.

The refining process was conducted in an oil refinery, where professional equipment could process the crude oil into the final product of waste cooking oil which would then be sold to local grain and oil companies that re-sell the waste cooking oil to markets.

This kind of illegal cooking oil can reach the sanitation standards set for cooking oil after several reprocessing procedures, according to local police.

But a local resident who lives near a workshop for crude oil extraction said the oil is too disgusting to be used as cooking oil.

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