Eggs have always been considered one of the few natural products left, but according to a new report, they aren’t so natural after all. Since 2003, China has been making artificial eggs which are difficult to tell from the natural product. The shells are made from calcium carbonate, and the eggs are made with resin, starch and cellulose as well as edible color additives. There are many pictures and videos online that show the artificial process in action. Tempted by the low price, traders from China buy the eggs without being aware of their origin, and realize that there’s a problem once the yolk hardens while cooked. As one website reports, the yolk becomes so gummy it can bounce back if thrown to the ground.
The artificial Chinese eggs are flooding supermarkets around the world, and everyone’s buying them. However, these fake eggs are highly dangerous and have been related to memory problems and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. They are very cheap to produce, with a batch costing only 2 cents! In 2011, Qilu Evening News from the Shangdong province published a report which detailed the method of production. According to one person from the industry, the toughest part is making the egg shell, which often misleads merchants.
The egg shell is created in a pan – the workers stir the mixture of calcium while boiling it and apply it layer by layer to create a convincing imitation. The egg is done in only 10 minutes. To reduce the smell of the compounds that create the egg white and yolk, the eggs are treated with aquarium water. For an even better effect, they put traces of feces on the eggs. In 2009, a Japanese TV showed an 8-minutes video report about the fake Chinese eggs, and soon every TV in the country ran it as well.
Now, one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of fake egg, Mr. Ren is offering lessons for the process for $120. He says that he doesn’t have any problems with chicken farmers. “I openly tell them that my artificial eggs are cheaper, and who doesn’t want to make more money? I have great business relations with them. Farm sellers buy more than the retail (retail), everyone knows it”, Ren says, “But the customers don’t know it”.