This travel food story will make you wish you didn’t know what gutter oil is and whether or not it’s still used

This travel food story will make you wish you didn’t know what gutter oil is and whether or not it’s still used

Gutter oil is illegal to cook with almost everywhere, and when you find out what it is, you’ll understand why. But despite the fact it’s banned in food production in most countries, people sometimes still get sick when they unknowingly eat a meal made with it.

In a series of recent TikTok posts, KittyK tells her gutter oil story, which she said she ate without her knowledge on a trip to China. According to The Washington Post, cooking with gutter oil is illegal in that country. But China, among other places, does allow gutter oil refining for industrial purposes. And since the margins are better on the gutter oil black market, many legitimate Chinese gutter oil producers often sell it to food vendors.

On her 2019 trip to China, KittyK says the group she was with ate at a restaurant in Shanghai. She noticed something “slimy” on top of her food. When she asked, she was told it was eggplant, she says. Still, KittyK started feeling unwell on the way back to the hotel, and once back in her room, she began vomiting, having diarrhea, and crying the entire night. KittyK was with her boyfriend on the trip, and he was fine. “He had just rice,” she says.

Gutter oil is skimmed from human feces

via KittyKWorld/TikTok

At the top of her gutter oil story, KittyK explains — hold on to your lunch — that gutter oil is made from human feces, which people collect from sewers. The fat is then skimmed off the top, and people cook with it. That’s problematic enough on the face of it, but cooking oil made from human feces can have all kinds of toxic and carcinogenic stuff in it, along with trans fats, loads of cholesterol, and trace amounts of all the other nasty stuff humans eat.

As KittyK describes, meals prepared in gutter oil can make you violently sick with diarrhea and vomiting, and prolonged exposure is linked with types of stomach and liver cancers. KittyK notes that most people who buy and sell gutter oil are trying to survive and make money, and it’s still most commonly found in small, out-of-the-way Chinese food establishments. As recently as 2013, however, The Washington Post says more than 3,000 tons of the stuff was confiscated in a Chinese sting.

Tests confirmed bacterial infections

via KittyKWorld/TikTok

In the second installment of her gutter oil story, KittyK says several other members of the group she was traveling with also got sick, after eating at two different places in China. By the end of their trip, her boyfriend was ill with vomiting and diarrhea, too, and suffice it to say, the flight home from China was harrowing. Once they arrived, KittyK and her boyfriend went to the hospital because they were still not completely well, she explains in the third and final part of her story.

Back in the States, lab tests revealed that KittyK and her boyfriend had several bacterial infections at once, and she says the doctor confirmed they had been exposed to “fecal matter,” or as KittyK put it, “We ate dookie.” KittyK was contacted a short time later by another woman who was also on their trip to China, and who got sick. That woman sent KittyK a link to a gutter oil documentary, and KittyK says she consulted her doctor: Could she have eaten gutter oil in China? It’s hard to know for sure, but based on the test results, it’s entirely possible, he said.

As for KittyK, a seasoned traveler who has had several cases of food poisoning and even parasitic infections in remote parts of the world, she’s certain she ate gutter oil. “Why would I make this up, bro?!” she says.

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