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Beware of Fake Eggs from China

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During a recent raid on a wholesale centre in Guangzhou city, the capital of China ‘s Guangdong province, a large quantity of fake eggs was seized.

Their wholesale price is 0.15 yuan (S$0.03) each – half the price of a real egg.

Consumers have a hard time telling a genuine egg from a fake one. This is good news for unscrupulous entrepreneurs, who are even conducting three-day courses in the production of artificial eggs for less than S$150. A reporter with Hong Kong-based Chinese magazine East Week enrolled in one such course.

To create egg white, the instructor – a woman in her 20s – used assorted ingredients such as gelatin, an unknown powder, benzoic acid, coagulating material and even alum, which is normally used for industrial processes.

For egg yolk, some lemon-yellow colouring powder is mixed to a liquid and the concoction stirred. The liquid is then poured into a round-shaped plastic mould and mixed with so-called ‘magic water’, which contains calcium chloride.

This gives the ‘yolk’ a thin outer membrane, firming it up. The egg is then shaped with a mould. The shell is not forgotten. Paraffin wax and an unidentified white liquid are poured onto the fake egg, which is then left to dry.

The artificial egg can be fried sunny-side up or steamed. Although bubbles appear on the white of the egg, those who have tasted it say the fake stuff tastes very much like the real thing.

But experts warn of the danger of eating fake eggs. Not only do they not contain any nutrients, a Hong Kong Chinese University professor warned that long-term consumption of alum could cause dementia.

How fake eggs are made
To make the egg white, various ingredients, including a powder and alum, are mixed together.

How fake eggs are made
The ‘yolk’ is shaped in the round mould. ‘Magic water’ containing calcium chloride is used.

How fake eggs are made
Hardy shells are formed by pouring paraffin wax and a liquid onto the egg, which are then left to dry.

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