The 6 Most Horrifying Product Recalls in China

#3. Deadly Monkfish

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I'm not a huge seafood fan, and not just because some of the world's seafood is apparently raised in toilets. I like fish sometimes, but I guess I have to be in the right mood. Other times it's a no-go, like maybe if you showed me the face of a monkfish before you planned to feed it to me, I'd have to turn that shit right down. Monkfish looks like what would happen if a frog and Smaug had a baby, and then that baby grew up and fell in love with a turd and then they had a baby. I guess anything can be eaten in a pinch, but I see no reason to eat devil turd fish, and I'm OK with that choice.

Despite how clearly monkfish shouldn't be eaten, some people enjoy it, and it's occasionally referred to as "poor man's lobster" despite the fact that it may actually cost more than lobster. Go figure. Because it can cost so much, that makes a unique opportunity for unscrupulous fishermen, like the type from China who had their monkfish recalled from three states after it became clear that what was being sold wasn't monkfish at all, but pufferfish.

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If you know anything about hilarious and deadly fish species of the world, you know that pufferfish is sometimes served in restaurants, particularly in Japan, and once in an episode of The Simpsons, with the gimmick being that it's deadly poisonous if improperly prepared. A skilled chef can prepare it in such a way that when you eat it, just a hint of the poison is in the meat, causing a numbing sensation in your lips. Isn't that fun? Just a little bit of death is tinglicious. Of course if it's prepared improperly, because maybe you thought the whole thing was a monkfish, you might just kill everyone eating your fish sticks.

Two people in Chicago became ill after eating the fish, which was found to contain tetrodotoxin, which is about 100 times more deadly than cyanide, with a dose of about 25 milligrams being lethal. Around three tons of the fish was sold, but hey, how many people could that kill?

#2. Face-Smashing Pogo Sticks

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By now you know to be wary of food imported from China, so let's leave the grocery store behind and head on over to the toy aisle. Yes, China has a history of being convinced that children are more into lead poisoning than actually playing with toys, and as such, many, many, many Chinese toys have been recalled again and again due to toxic lead paint, so I'm not going to bother delving into that except to say that no, China, babies do not love lead paint. Stop that.

Back in 2011, China had been manufacturing some pogo sticks, which for the sake of argument we'll assume were all made from lead paint, but which also had an issue with the frame. The bottom of the frame tube could break. Based on what I read, I think this is pretty much what happened -- you get on the pogo stick, you start to pogo around. You're saying "pogo, pogo, pogo" in your head each time you bounce up and down. Then, on one fateful "po-," the stick buckles like a pilgrim's shoe and your feet keep hurtling toward the ground as the rest of the stick flies up and plants an aluminum kiss square in the center of your face. This resulted in 123 reported injuries, mostly broken teeth and busted-ass faces. The entire run of 169,000 pogo sticks was recalled, but hopefully one or two are still out there, held in rooms like that one from the movie The Conjuring where the psychics kept the creepy doll, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to run afoul of it.

#1. Moon Face Cream

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The most terrifying thing about the health and beauty industry is how much implicit trust consumers have to have in order for it to even exist. When you go to the store to buy vitamins or supplements, you're believing that the label is what it says it is. This is ginseng, so it is safe for me to consume. Now if a dude with an eye patch rolled up in a windowless van and held out a handful of curly brown root and told you it was ginseng, you'd probably be disinclined to purchase it from him, but there's very little to separate the validity of the two, because who the hell monitors the stuff in the store? You think someone does, but you might never know until it's too late. Do I have an off-putting story to back me up? You know I do.

A company in China was marketing a brand of skin cream that was widely used to treat eczema in babies. The ingredients consisted of 25 all-natural products, which is a relief until you consider that, in this case, the ingredients list was apparently just 25 words someone pulled out of their ass. The cream was actually laced with a steroid hormone that's extremely dangerous, especially for children, called clobetasol propionate. It's also used for skin conditions, except it shouldn't be used for prolonged periods, shouldn't be used by children, and generally needs a doctor's recommendation. How come? Because using it can cause things like excessive hair growth in women and, in children, Cushing's syndrome, which is characterized by a big, swollen, moon-shaped face, emotional instability, acne, muscle weakening, hair loss, truncal obesity, and buffalo hump. For fuck's sake, buffalo hump! That's not even one of my hilarious pretend things I toss into lists, it's a real thing! Called buffalo hump!

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I just call it "hump."

One of the ways it came to light that the cream was causing problem was reportedly thanks to an 8-month-old girl who had been given the cream and started menstruating. That's literally the most horrible sentence I've typed in ages, and you read the kind of shit I write, so that's pretty awful.

Not to worry, though, as the product was recalled and the company was given the stiff fine of $730 American to make them pay for their callous disregard for human safety. That probably showed 'em.

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