Ejiao has been passed down in China for more than 2,000 years and is a national intangible cultural heritage. However, the shortage of raw materials has brought bottlenecks and crises to the development of the ejiao industry.
Tongrentang: DNA testing is not available for ejiao
Recently, the counterfeiter Zeng Zhaoxing commissioned Shenzhen Institute of Metrology and Quality Inspection (hereinafter referred to as the “Quality Inspection Institute”) to test the edible ejiao of Beijing Tongrentang Tongke Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Tongrentang”), and the results could not detect the DNA of donkeys, but the DNA of pigs and cattle.
According to China Business News, some insiders said that the so-called detection of cowhide source ingredients, in fact, is to replace the production of donkey skin with cowhide, also known as miscellaneous skin glue in the industry, which has been repeatedly exposed in ejiao products.
In this regard, Tongrentang issued the “Statement on the Testing Standards for Tongrentang Edible Ejiao” on March 15, which mentioned that the testing standards used by counterfeiters are usually the industry standards for the identification of pig, cow and donkey meat, and this method is not applicable to ejiao, a product that has undergone deep heat processing.
Image source: Screenshot of Tongrentang’s official website
On March 17, Tongrentang released the test results in the announcement:
“After verification with Tongrentang Technology, Tongrentang Technology said that this batch of ejiao (product batch: 1401015, 1401030) was produced in strict accordance with the provisions of the Chinese Pharmacopoeia and there was no quality problem.”
According to China Business News, experts from BGI previously said that ejiao does have the possibility of DNA degradation after high-temperature treatment and cannot be detected, but under this assumption,
If all feedings are treated equally, DNA from any species should not be detected after high temperatures, so pig and cattle DNA is unlikely. The detection of pig and cattle DNA at least indicates that the sample contains pig and cattle-derived tissue.
In the materials replied by the quality inspection institute to China Business Daily and other media, it said that the institute has testing qualifications and proper testing methods, but said that it does not rule out the possibility that the original product may bring in trace amounts of pig and cattle DNA components due to ingredients.
Although this matter is currently inconclusive, from the perspective of the ejiao industry, there has indeed been a phenomenon of ingredient fraud, and on the problem of ejiao fraud, every editor (WeChat: nbdnews) believes that the most fundamental reason is: raw material donkey skin is in short supply.
The demand for ejiao expanded, and the donkey was terrified
Ejiao has always been known as “the holy medicine for blood tonification” and “nourishing national treasure”, and together with ginseng and deer antler velvet, it has been known as the “three treasures of traditional Chinese medicine”. With the improvement of Chinese people’s awareness of health care in recent years, the demand for ejiao products is also increasing year by year. At present, there are hundreds of ejiao manufacturers in China, and Shandong is a large ejiao producer, with more than 200 in the province.
The ejiao industry is becoming more and more popular, so that the little donkey has never been paid as much attention as now. However, the question before us is:”
The donkey industry is facing the problem of ‘killing less and less’
According to national livestock statistics, the stock of donkeys in China has declined from 11 million in the 90s of last century to less than 6 million at present, and it is still declining at an annual rate of 3.5%. “The rate of donkey demise in the past two years has been so fast, so fast that it is terrifying.” Zhang Ming, chairman of Xinjiang Yukunlun Natural Food Engineering Co., Ltd., said in an interview with the China Times.
With the decline in the number of donkeys, the price of donkey skin, the main raw material for making ejiao, has soared
。 Industry insiders said that in 2000, the price of a donkey skin on the market was only 20 yuan, in 2010 it rose to 200 yuan, in 2013 it soared to 600 yuan, and by 2015 it rose to 1500-2000 yuan, and the price of donkey skin has increased by 70-100 times in more than ten years.
Image source: CCTV Financial Weibo
According to CCTV financial news, silver was sold for about 3.2 yuan per gram last year, and Dong Ejiao was priced at 3.9 yuan per gram.
Even so, the demand for ejiao is still growing, and the shortage of donkey skins has become its biggest contradiction. According to the annual production report of more than 100 ejiao manufacturers, the total annual output of ejiao is at least 5,000 tons; Market monitoring data from Dong Ejiao Co., Ltd., a leading enterprise in the ejiao industry, shows that
According to the current sales volume of ejiao in the Chinese market, about 4 million donkey skins are needed, but the total domestic supply is less than 1.8 million. Coupled with other imported donkey skins, the total amount of ejiao produced in China is about 3,000 tons.
So, the comparison of this set of data reveals a shocking fact: what is the extra 2,000 tons of ejiao made of?
Donkey skins are not enough, miscellaneous skins to make up
The chaos of raw materials is even more prominent in the serious shortage of supply in the ejiao industry. At the end of February this year, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration announced the test results for the fourth quarter of 2015, including a batch of drugs that did not meet the standards, among which Shandong Yixiaotang Ejiao Group Centennial Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Hebei Dongru Ejiao Co., Ltd. were on the black list because tortoiseshell gum products contain bovine leather-derived ingredients.
Image from Oriental IC
CCTV financial reporters have purchased 12 kinds of ejiao through the Internet, pharmacies, supermarkets and several platforms, and the results found that 11 of them are non-donkey skins.
According to Xinhua News Agency, a number of industry insiders have told reporters that driven by huge profits, some manufacturers have repeatedly adulterated ejiao raw materials.
Due to the relatively low price, these fake and shoddy ejiao products are sold to remote county and township supermarkets or pharmacies through OEM or bulk sales, or sold through online channels under the guise of low prices.
At present, the medicinal and edible ejiao products on the market mainly include ejiao block, ejiao oral liquid, ejiao cake, ejiao jujube, etc. These products are mixed, and some ejiao cakes do not even contain ejiao ingredients at all. If you take ejiao made of horse skin, the harm to the human body will be great.
So how to buy ejiao? Each editor (WeChat: nbdnews) teaches you three tricks ↓
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