China has a population of all the people in China, and that is a hell of a lot. Are you from Butte? It's more than Butte. With all of those people, you'd be right to assume that a lot of shit gets done in China. Pandas have babies sometimes. Won ton soup gets made. Communism gets communized. There's lots to see and do. And yet, despite being a world superpower and a country with which one does not want to fuck, they have this habitual problem of not just making low budget and shoddy merchandise (that's what every other country that supplies Walmart is for), but making merchandise that has so transcended low budget and shoddy, it's actually mind-blowingly dangerous and borderline insane. Why do so many things in China need to be recalled for being the punchline of a really dark joke? No one knows. And with that, here's some dark punchlines. I'll fill in jokes around them.
#6. Donkey Meat With Fox
Eric Isselee/iStock/Getty Images + Paul Cotney/iStock/Getty Images
Imagine how disgusted and violated and betrayed you would feel if you had just come home from shopping at your local Walmart and were about to put together a delicious meal for the dinner party you're hosting for friends only to discover that your main course, a delicious slab of premium grade Chinese donkey, was nothing more than run-of-the-mill fox meat? Yes, the oldest trick in the donkey meat book has happened again.
I could fill a small novella with the questions I have about how it comes to pass that someone first wanted donkey meat and ended up with fox meat. How is donkey more desirable than fox? How does fox get into donkey meat? Does that mean someone is farming fox and it's an inferior meat? Is fox meat a thing you can buy on its own in China if you want it? Are fox and donkey really so similar that you could pass one off as the other without people noticing, or was this just a really terribly perpetrated fraud? I want to know, and yet at the same time I don't.
Whatever the logistics of the fox/donkey substitution, at the end of the day, Chinese shoppers looking for donkey only want donkey, and fox is unacceptable. The result was a recall of the five-spice donkey meat from Walmart locations in China while officials look into how it came to pass that one of those five spices is a small, wild dog.
#5. Chemical Burn Flip-Flops
I have a love/hate relationship with summer. For instance, you're more likely to see cleavage and/or boob in the summer, and I love that, but you're also more likely to see my boobs or cleavage, and that makes me sad, because I'm less Channing Tatum and more Channing Tater than is entirely healthy or attractive. Also flip-flops. I just don't get 'em. Wear shoes or, if you're going to be drinking near the beach or a fire later, wear sandals (which I hereby deem to be different footwear entirely). What the hell is a flip-flop for? No one knows.
The Dark Lord hath marked his supplicant with the Foot of the Beast!
I suspect the popularity of flip-flops has something to do with the fact that you can buy about six pairs for a buck at most stores, and this is equally true of Walmart. Unfortunately for Walmart and your feet, those flip-flops were of course made in China, where nothing is as it seems! In this case, where it seems like flip-flops should be made of maybe plastic and rubber, someone in China opted to make them from benzene and the angry spirits of dead Mogwai. The result was chronicled back in 2007 on the blog of Kerry Stiles (wicked name), who photographed her feet after wearing the flip-flops and developing a wicked rash/chemical burn that corresponded to the straps of her flip-flops. Over the course of a number of photos, you can watch her skin redden, bubble, lizardify, scab, slough, necrotize, and declare war on all things that walk in the light and embrace goodness.
Other people who bought the same kind of flip-flops reported similar issues, and eventually Walmart took the flip-flops off the shelves, insisting of the millions sold that only a few people were horribly mutilated, so no worries.
#4. Sewer Fish
In my town, there's a river that runs right through the center of everything and is pretty impressive at some points, with waterfalls, lots of wildfowl, and all that nature-type crap people love. It's also notoriously polluted, and for as long as I can remember, people have joked about how awful it would be to eat any fish you caught in the river, because the decay of the environment around us is worth a chuckle or two. But then in China they raise fish in untreated sewage, so check and mate.
Not being a biologist, I wasn't aware that you could raise fish in raw sewage, but China is industrious, and they're getting seafood to at least mature in a nightmare before they bring it to market for us, and then, to make sure it's safe for human consumption, they seem to be treating it with drugs and chemicals that are deadly, but just in a decidedly different way from raw sewage.
The FDA has to consistently reject imports from China that are rancid with bacteria, carcinogens, and other gut-melting substances, because the FDA stands by a "please no poo-raised food" motto and, frankly, we should all support that.