Investigation Finds Fake Boba Allegedly Made Of ‘Leather Shoes and Old Tires’ in China
Do you know what’s in your boba? Typically, boba, or tapioca pearls, are made up of tapioca starch and brown sugar, but a recent investigative report in China found allegations that some of the country’s boba may contain leather and rubber.
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, a Qinqdao reporter for broadcast station Shandong Television drank a boba milk tea from a local shop. A CT scan taken of the reporter’s stomach at a local hospital afterward revealed the tapioca pearls lay undigested.
In the segment run on the program “Life Help,” scientists from Qingdao University’s Chemical Experimentation Center analyzed the purported tapioca pearls and were reportedly unable to confirm its make-up. They described the pearls as “highly adhesive.”
Undercover interviews with local boba tea shop managers found that they also seemed unsure of the pearls’ actual ingredients. One manager, however, made a stunning accusation that would mean illegality committed on the part of the boba manufacturer if true: “They’re all made at chemical plants. To put it bluntly, they’re made from the soles of leather shoes and old tires.”
While boba tea has seen heavy popularity growth stateside over the last decade, the Taiwanese-born drinks have also seen their fair share of controversy. In addition to several scandals in the Philippines and Taiwan over unapproved and toxic additives in tapioca pearls over the last several years, a 2012 German study found that some boba contained carcinogenic “PCB-like” substances.
Support our Journalism with a Contribution
Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.
Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.
However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.
We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.