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Adam Minter

Coming Your Way: China's Rotten Apples

The juice of rotten Chinese apples isn’t something that most American parents would serve to their children. 

The juice of rotten Chinese apples isn't something that most American parents would serve to their children. But if a recent report from the Chinese press is accurate, they may very well have been doing so for years without anyone -- including U.S. government inspectors -- knowing it.

The news was broken by the independent-minded 21st Century Business Herald, which sent reporters to a region of the country known for its fruit groves and fruit-juice manufacturers. They found three of China's leading juice manufacturers purchasing rotten apples and pears from farmers unable to sell them for direct human consumption. Chinese regulators shut down two of the plants, despite failing to find stocks of rotten fruit on the factory premises, and investigations are ongoing. Nonetheless, as Quartz reported last week, two of the plants in question receive significant government export subsidies (and one of the plants supplies 27percent of the apple juice that China exports to the U.S. and Canada, annually). Under such circumstances, it's highly unlikely that China's regulators will move to harm any reputations.