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Hair-Made Soy Sauce: An Update
Status: Gross news
image Back in January 2004 I posted a short entry about a factory in China that had been caught making soy sauce out of human hair. I also mentioned the incident in Hippo Eats Dwarf (p.76). Now more gruesome details have emerged, published in the Internet Journal of Toxicology (link via Boing Boing):
In late 2003, there was an alternatively produced soy sauce named "Hongshuai Soy Sauce" in China. The soy sauce was marketed as “blended using latest bioengineering technology” by a food seasoning manufacturer, suggesting that the soy sauce was not generated in a traditional way using soy and wheat. The Hongshuai Soy Sauce was sold at a relatively low price in Mainland China and became very popular among the public. The people found its taste to be similar to other brands. Because of its low price, many catering services in schools and colleges decided to use this new product.
An investigation led by TV journalists then revealed why the soy sauce was so cheap. It was being manufactured from an amino acid powder (or syrup) bought from a manufacturer in Hubei province:
When asking how the amino acid syrup (or powder) was generated, the manufacturer replied that the powder was generated from human hair. Because the human hair was gathered from salon, barbershop and hospitals around the country, it was unhygienic and mixed with condom, used hospital cottons, used menstrual cycle pad, used syringe, etc. After filtered by the workers, the hair would then cut small for being processed into amino acid syrup. The technicians admitted that they would not consume the human-hair soy sauce because the dirty and unhygienic hair was used to make amino acid syrup. A quality monitoring staff also revealed that though the hair may not be toxic itself, it definitely consisted of bacteria and other micro-organisms.
Lovely. But what the article doesn't mention, but which I believe to be true, is that soy sauce isn't the only food product made out of this cheap hair-made amino acid powder. The stuff is also sold in large quantities to the bakery industry which uses it as a source of L-cysteine to make dough softer and more elastic. Think about that next time you're chewing on a bagel.
Categories: Food, Gross
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 28, 2006
Comments (28)
"Because the human hair was gathered from salon, barbershop and hospitals around the country, it was unhygienic and mixed with condom, used hospital cottons, used menstrual cycle pad, used syringe, etc."

I thought that the trash from hospitals was incinerated? Anyway, is there really that much hair in it? I would think that the biggest mass of it is used bandages, tissues, rubber gloves, tubes, and other single-use instruments, and of course lots of empty drug packs. Oh, by the way, why would hairdressers and doctors use so many condoms?
Posted by Christophe Thill  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  04:20 AM
There would be hair in it, probably from shaving patients for surgery.
Posted by Soldant  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  05:30 AM
"The stuff is also sold in large quantities to the bakery industry which uses it as a source of L-cysteine to make dough softer and more elastic. Think about that next time you're chewing on a bagel."

Thanks a lot, Alex. I was just eating a bagel when I read that! sick
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  07:56 AM
Most Top Ramen and other Asian noodles have the human hair stuff in it. No big surprise here.
Posted by Sheldon  in  Austin, Texas  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  09:39 AM
Soylent green, anybody?
Posted by james  in  oakville ontario  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  10:14 PM
Glad I read this, I was about to donate my hair to some kid with cancer, but now I can sell it for food use and host a not-so-scary-yet-still-nasty hannible lecter dinner party.
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  11:30 PM
Wow, they're not only making "soy" sauce out of hair, they're making it from *dirty* hair.
Blech.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Marfa, Texas  on  Sun Jul 30, 2006  at  01:54 PM
luckily i did not pour the soy sauce into my porriage!!as i was:sick:



lucky me
Posted by Andy  in  Marfa, Texas  on  Mon Sep 04, 2006  at  07:20 AM
i hope this is not true with all bagels ilove bagels! cool mad
Posted by isaiah  on  Tue Oct 03, 2006  at  04:59 PM
I was eating some dim sims with soy sauce when I read this soy sauce on Wikipedia. I googled it and came up with this site. I feel truly, truly ill.
Posted by Georgie Porgie  in  Melbourne, Australia  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  09:51 PM
I
Posted by Jones Tacker  in  USA  on  Tue Nov 07, 2006  at  08:13 AM
Ewww I heard soy sauce as made out of rats and human hair? is dat true...because i heard canada isnt accepting soy sauces anymore but they still sell them in chinese restaurants or in like grocery stores but some of the markets and stores have stopped from distributing them out....:S eww..I feel disgusted because I eat a lot of soy sauce...now I think I'm going to be sick
Posted by Tina  in  Vancouver  on  Sun Nov 26, 2006  at  10:26 PM
Orrible
Posted by Arabias  on  Thu Jan 18, 2007  at  12:49 PM
It seems that ATY Lee is not all he seems. The original article in the Internet Journal of Toxicology ( vol2 No 1) has been withdrawn by the publisher.

Why? Don't know. However, whether its true or not is arguable. Recetly in Austraiua there has been discussion of garlic from China gorown it is alleged on human sewage, bleached, treated with growth suppressants etc. We import 90,000 TONNES a year. What the USa imports is way more. I'd say buy local and buy local soy sauce.

Bill
Posted by renew  on  Tue May 22, 2007  at  09:19 AM
I eat soy sauce on my tofu hotdogs and its delicious regardless of what its made from.
Posted by Hairornohairilovesoy  in  Boca Raton, Florida  on  Tue Mar 18, 2008  at  01:08 AM
And I though El Cheapo Soy Sauce was cheap...of course though, that's just the ironic nickname.
Posted by El Cheapo Soy Sauce  in  Dubai  on  Fri Apr 04, 2008  at  04:05 AM
Oh! My God. horrible......
Posted by joey  in  thailand  on  Mon Nov 24, 2008  at  01:24 AM
Thanks a lot, Alex. I was just eating a bagel when I read that<a herf="mydietlist.blogspot.com">diet</a>.
Posted by salvo  on  Wed Oct 21, 2009  at  04:46 PM
Wow, they're not only making "soy" sauce out of hair, they're making it from *dirty* hair.
Blech <a herf="http://mydietlist.blogspot.com">diet</a>.
Posted by salavador  in  kursad  on  Wed Oct 21, 2009  at  04:48 PM
Lea! I
Posted by karanlik  in  Turkey  on  Sun Oct 25, 2009  at  07:03 AM
Thansk
Posted by Chat  in  Chat  on  Mon Oct 26, 2009  at  02:34 AM
Quite disgusting , but when i think of it , it does not surprise me a bit
Posted by feliz  in  belgium  on  Sun Jun 06, 2010  at  06:46 AM
Dude, when they want to get cheap ass calories to put into stuff, like animal feed, they make it out of.... soy.
Posted by mad  in  Quebec  on  Wed Jun 16, 2010  at  07:59 PM
Yep. I live on soy sauce.
Posted by Nicole  in  China  on  Thu Aug 12, 2010  at  01:15 AM
Thanks a lot, Alex. I was just eating a bagel when I read thatdiet.
Posted by fx15  in  ankara  on  Wed Aug 25, 2010  at  06:51 AM
I feel truly, truly ill.
Posted by hasan  in  filmindir  on  Wed Aug 25, 2010  at  07:15 AM
OMG! that's horrible!
Posted by video tv  in  Turkey  on  Mon Aug 30, 2010  at  04:11 AM
SOYLENT SAUCE! IT'S MADE OF PEOPLE!!! MY GOD IT'S MADE OF PEOPLE!!! (cue Charleton Heston, scarf on neck, sprinting through the streets of Shang-Hai, Screaming)
Posted by noahbodday  on  Tue Dec 21, 2010  at  12:54 PM
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