With news of melamine-contaminated baby formula, exploding watermelons and other industry shenanigans with global implications, China's food safety reputation has taken a hit in recent years. Now there are reports of concrete-filled walnuts being sold extensively that are going viral, thanks to small-time vendors trying to maximize profits.
Chinese news clearinghouse The Ministry of Tofu reports a recent story:
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.
Vendors apparently make more money if the modified shells and nutmeats are sold separately, and the sale of these "rock walnuts" is becoming so widespread that there are even online videos (like the one above) on helping consumers spot fake walnuts and how to return them (apparently, a fake walnut is dry and won’t make a sound when cracked).