Firm uses human hair in soya sauce 'breakthrough'

A company in Hubei has been promoting powders and liquid made from human hair as a new breakthrough ingredient for soya sauce manufacture.

But health officials have warned that ingesting hair could be dangerous.

Hubei Xinshengyuan Bio Engineering, based in Jingzhou, has been shipping the ingredients to soya sauce factories around the country, according to a report by China Central Television last night.

Television footage showed workers wearing masks using sticks to sort human hair taken from dirty bags, sometimes along with used cotton buds and even condoms.

The hair was then put into a machine without any cleaning, according to the CCTV report. Workers were quoted as saying that hairs were collected around the country and an average of 10 tonnes were used each day.

The company said that the powder and liquid made from the hair contained amino acid that would be used to make soya sauce.

Through using their product, the cost of making sauce is reduced by half. Company spokespeople said they had secured long-term deals to supply factories in cities and provinces as far away as Chongqing.

The report quoted a store owner in neighbouring Hunan province as saying that soya sauce made with human hair was selling well to school canteens.

CCTV quoted government officials saying that human hair contained lead and arsenic, which are harmful to the liver, kidney and bloodstream, and can also cause cancer if consumed.