Sunday, 9 February 2014

Fermented Hair

A woman surnamed Zhang from Jinhua in east China's Zhejiang province told the paper [The People's Daily] that she was stunned when her hairdresser said that all the hair cut off from customers is purchased to make protein-rich soy sauce. "Making soy sauce? I was scared!" Zhang said.

A barber surnamed Liu said, "We did hear the rumor but I have never seen anyone use hair to make soy sauce." He added however that the myth goes further. "I even heard that it can be used to make medicine," Liu said.

"Some people come to buy discarded hair from our shop. Some hair that is complete and long is used to make wigs. As for the smaller pieces, I have no idea what it could be used for." He said the price of hair differs depending on its quality, but most of the hair purchased from his shop costs about 10 yuan (US$1.65) a kilo.

A food safety expert surnamed Shi told the paper that is indeed true that hair can be fermented to make soy sauce. However, Shi said this is prohibited as hair can contain excessive amounts of heavy metals. "This existed years ago but is rare now. Some small factories still do it illegally," Shi added.