It's Mid-Autumn season — the moon is out, the lanterns are bright and the mooncakes are aplenty. Mooncakes are a staple for Chinese families this time of the year, but do we know where they really come from?
If you have been having trouble controlling your intake of the sweet, calorie-laden treats, this video footage released by an undercover reporter in China may turn you off for good.
The video, filmed in Shandong province last month, exposed the dismal food safety standards at three mooncake factories.
The first factory, which claimed that it produces over 10,000 catties (5,000kg) of mooncakes a day, had cakes stacked on dirty trays and bowls of fillings on the floor. And that's not all — ingredients that had fallen on the floor were blatantly picked up and reused in the mooncakes.Photo: Pearvideo.comPhoto: Pearvideo.comPhotos: Pearvideo.com
The second factory was not much better.
Dough was left lying around with just thin sheets of plastic separating it from the cluttered and dusty-looking floor, seemingly with no regard for food safety practices. Workers also handled the mooncakes with dirty hands.Photo: Pearvideo.comPhoto: Pearvideo.com
At the third factory, not only were the machines used to process the mooncake fillings filthy, the workers were also caught packing the mooncakes with their bare hands.
Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, one woman even licked her fingers after wrapping each mooncake.Photo: Pearvideo.comPhoto: Pearvideo.com
If you buy your mooncakes online, you might want to think again — according to Pear Video, the factories in the video mainly supply their products to online mooncake retailers.
Netizens found the video hard to stomach, many of them swearing off online-bought mooncakes."It's still better to go for legitimate branded mooncakes."Photo: Screengrab/Weibo"This scared me so much that I threw away the mooncakes that I bought on Pinduoduo (an e-commerce website)."Photo: Screengrab/Weibo
However, others pointed out that food safety issues aren't exclusive to mooncakes available online."I have to say it. China's food safety problems are worrying."Photo: Screengrab/Weibo"Even if you stop buying mooncakes online, that doesn't mean other bakeries don't operate in similar conditions…"Photo: Screengrab/Weibo
With Mid-Autumn Festival just around the corner, this is just one more reason to lay off the mooncake-bingeing.