Pharma Companies Unfairly Slandered Over Gutter Oil Use

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I’m no apologist for the pharmaceutical industry, but someone needs to stand up for these companies in the face of this scurrilous attack:

Authorities have stepped up measures against gutter oil after more pharmaceutical firms and forage makers were found to have used the waste material.

Qilu Pharmaceutical Co, Charoen Pokphand Group, and two Shenzhen-listed forage makers, Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group and Tangrenshen Group Co, were among the latest companies found to have purchased gutter oil to replace soy oil in their production processes.

[ . . . ]

Like Jiaozuo Joincare Biological Product Co, Qilu Pharmaceutical may have used the gutter oil to nurture colonies during the production of certain types of antibiotic, the report said. (Shanghai Daily)

Granted, this doesn’t look so good at first glance. Gutter oil, the refuse restaurants scrape out of sink traps and sell to processing companies, is nasty stuff.

But keep an open mind. Sure, you don’t want to use gutter oil to make a Twinkie or a Mars Bar (might  improve on the taste, though), but antibiotics? That’s a completely different situation.

Keep in mind that antibiotics are obtained from bacteria isolated from fungi and mold. We’re already squarely in the realm of putrescent slime that would feel quite at home homesteading in an Orc’s asshole.

Now in terms of commercial production of this fungi and mold, we’re not just talking about slapping some bacteria on a couple of agar plates. No, large-scale production involves big-ass tanks of the right kind of growth medium.

Logically, if you are going to grow mold in giant vats, it follows that the more repulsive, noxious and noisome the gunk you fill those tanks with, the better. And what could be more pestiferous and loathsome a concoction, and therefore best able to facilitate that cell culture, than gutter oil?

I can’t understand why the PhDs at the State Food and Drug Administration don’t get this obvious point. I mean, this is basic science. It’s all a matter of using the right tool for the job. I mean, you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to drive in a nail, would you? You wouldn’t wipe yourself with sandpaper after using the toilet, right?

So you see, while it appears on the surface as if these companies are endangering public health by cutting costs and using impure ingredients in the production of medicine that could turn out to be inefficacious at best, and insalubrious at worst, that is simply not the case. In fact, these conscientious enterprises are looking out for the health of their fellow citizens by adopting a novel manufacturing approach that, as far as you know, might not even kill you, or at least not much.

And to think, these companies have actually been prosecuted! Sadly, no good deed goes unpunished.