China's food industry, already reeling from reports of toxins in pet food originating in China, took another blow when Beijing TV recently reported that snack vendors in eastern Beijing were selling "steamed dumplings stuffed with cardboard soaked in caustic soda and seasoned with pork flavoring." Yuck! In this case, however, the accusation appears to have been unwarranted. CNN reports
Beijing authorities said investigations had found that an employee surnamed Zi had fabricated the report to garner "higher audience ratings", the China Daily said on Thursday. "Zi had provided all the cardboard and asked the vendor to soak it. It's all cheating," the paper quoted a government notice as saying.
So this appears to belong to the genre of the "gross things found in food" hoax
. Assuming, that is, that the Beijing authorities are telling the truth, and that the cardboard buns were actually the invention of a rogue reporter. I wouldn't put it past the Beijing authorities to cry hoax to cover up a real problem.
Also, it's worth noting that even if Beijing vendors aren't supplementing their buns with cardboard, reports of Chinese manufacturers using human hair to make soy sauce
continue to appear to be true. So I wouldn't put much past the Chinese food industry. (Thanks Cranky and Joe)