Parts of East China are on high alert after some stewed pig ears have been found to be made from chemicals that could cause blood and heart problems.
The popular Chinese snacks sold at a market in Ganzhou, the second-largest city in Jiangxi province, were said to be made from gelatin and sodium oleate.
The China Daily reported that a man from Ganxian county of Ganzhou bought some cooked pig ears on March 30, only to find they smelled strange when he was going to eat them. The man sent the ears to the industrial and commercial bureau of Ganxian, and local authorities detained the original seller. The identity of the seller was not revealed, and it is unknown who made the ears.
Chinese food safety regulations have banned sodium oleate from food.
"Adding the chemical makes the ears taste better and makes it hard for customers to discover that the ears are actually fake," said Fan Zhihong, associate professor of nutrition and food safety at the China Agricultural University. "Eating an excessive amount of sodium can result in high blood pressure and influence the heart's function."
"The gelatin used in the artificial pig ears may pose an even bigger health hazard" he added Fan said.