No, the Chinese aren’t trying to poison us with plastic eggs
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A video has been circulating widely on social media showing two women pouring a viscous white substance into clear egg-shaped plastic containers. The video has sparked rumours that the Chinese are manufacturing plastic eggs with the aim of tricking and even poisoning unsuspecting customers.
After plastic rice and plastic fish… now it’s plastic eggs! "Yuk, God save us!” reads the caption to a video published on the Ivorian Facebook page Flash Info Abidjan on April 29, referencing other plastic food rumours that have swept the internet. Since its publication on this site, the video has been viewed close to 8,000 times. Several different people reached out to the FRANCE 24 Observers team about this topic and asked us to investigate.
This video has actually been circulating widely on social media for the past year. It’s popped up all over the world. For example, this video has garnered more than a million views on an Urdu YouTube channel. Urdu is the language spoken in northern India and Pakistan. It was shared more than 740,000 times after it was posted on an Indonesian Facebook page. It also featured in an article published on the website of Turkey’s main daily newspaper, Sabah. When this video was published in English on YouTube, it got more than 178,000 views.
All of these posts claim that this video is proof that the Chinese are making fake plastic eggs meant for human consumption. Be warned, these posts tell readers.
A Chinese news organisation has verified the video
If you do a reverse image search, however, you will find a link to an article in Chinese published on April 5, 2017, that debunks this video and explains its origins. You can get the gist of it by using online translation tools.
According to the Shanghai-based news organisation Jiefang Daily, which has a fact-checking section, this video started circulating on WeChat [a popular social media platform in China] in March 2017. Some people claimed that these plastic eggs were being sold in markets and given out in schools.
However, this video doesn’t show fake chicken eggs. In reality, the video shows “slime”, a thick paste like silly putty or playdough that doesn’t stain or stick to things and that is meant as a toy for children, who knead it and mix it and, sometimes, even make it themselves.
In this case, the slime is made white and yellow to look like an egg, and placed in a plastic shell that gives it an egg shape.
The video shows the slime being made. Next to the two workers, you can see labels meant to be stuck on the plastic shell that holds the paste
Photos and screengrabs made by FRANCE 24.
The label belongs to a Korean company that sells slime on different online shopping sites including the Chinese site Taobao and the American site Amazon. On Amazon, it states that these toys are made out of resin and that they measure seven centimetres. There are two versions of this toy. One with a label in English, the other in Korean.
In another video posted on YouTube in September 2016, you can see someone playing with a similar toy.