Fake Concrete Filled Walnuts Sold in China.
1. Fake walnuts containing cement reportedly seen in China.
2. Chinese Fraudsters Selling Walnuts Filled With Cement and Rocks.
Hoax or Fact:
The messages claim that fake walnuts filled with concrete, cement or rocks are being sold in China, also showing a related video (read sub titles for English translation). Yes, it is a fact. Such incidents have been reported in China, where fraudsters are filling walnut shells with rocks, cement and concrete and selling them as fresh walnuts.
About the Reports
As shown in the video, such incidents of fake walnuts have been reported in China. One credible source among that is from the Ministry of Tofu, whose goal is to promote Chinese culture and boost mutual understanding between China and rest of the world. On 20 February 2012, the Ministry of Tofu translated and shared a news from a Chinese website called NetEase as the Picture of the day, with a title 'Walnut made of cement':
Picture of the day: Walnut made of cement
Mr. Li bought 2.5 kilos of walnut from a street vendor in Zhengzhou city, Henan province on February 15. After he got home and cracked open some of them, he found that inside walnuts were broken concrete chunks. In order to reap more profit, vendors cracked open walnuts that have a thin husk, took out the nutmeat, put concrete nuggets inside and seal the husk with glue. To prevent the concrete nugget from knocking on the husk and making noises, the counterfeiters wrapped it with paper.
Apparently, the Coast Guard members have reported such incidents of fake walnuts. It is to be noted that not just this fake walnuts, there are other concerns over food quality in China, like the Fake Chicken Eggs Made of Plastic. The second video is a news report of these concerns in Chinese food industry.
Why Fake Walnuts are Sold
In China, the price of Walnuts has jumped up in recent years, for various reasons including Chinese cultural traditions. Walnuts were once like toys in China's imperial court, which when rotated in one's palm are believed to stimulate blood circulation. Recent developments in China have brought about an investment market of so-called "cultural playthings", where the prices of Walnuts have shot up - as it distinctly became a Chinese status symbol. The bigger, older and more symmetrical Walnuts are priced up to tens of thousands of dollars. According to a merchant Hu Zhenyuan:
"Walnut investments go up every year. A pair of walnuts at 350 yuan ($55) 10 years ago can sell for 3,500 yuan or even 20,000 or 30,000 yuan (almost $5,000)."
We believe that this jump in price of Walnuts - as an investment and cultural thing has compelled fraudsters to fake them, as they are going to make good money. And unfortunately, they have also reached the food markets lately, where consumers buy them not as a cultural plaything, but to eat as food. Because by selling these fake walnuts, fraudsters can almost double their profits, as they can sell both the nutmeat and the fake walnuts.
So it is important for consumers to check walnuts carefully before buying and avoid ending up with such fake ones.