Hot buns? Watchdog warns silicone gel used in steamers may be toxic

Here's a piece of alarming news for bao lovers in China.

The silicone used in bun production may be unfit for consumption, a Shanghai quality watchdog warns.

The Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau said last week that the gel found in steamers at some food stalls might not be suitable for use in catering.

Baozi (or bun) steamers are often stacked up on top of each other, sometimes in columns many metres high.

In baos we trust?

To prevent the steamed buns from sticking to the bottom of the basket, a layer of gel is used - a practice allegedly deemed more hygienic than using bamboo sheets.

If the gel is not of a certain quality it becomes a health hazard, as it can contain toxic substances like polyvinyl chloride.

Shanghai Daily said there is no existing standard for the quality of such products.

Gel producers will be tested and assessed before the Bureau deems whether the product is safe.

Sources: Shanghai Daily, Shanghaiist