Bustling placenta black market

ChinaThe sneaky sale of the human placenta still works strongly even though it is prohibited, because the buyer believes the placenta can be used as a remedy.

The placenta is cooked to be eaten or supplied to traditional medicine. For many Chinese people, the human placenta, also known as the death of haze, is believed to be a method of nourishing people with poor immune systems, curing tuberculosis, lowering blood pressure and good for reproduction.

Placenta trade is mainly concentrated in Bac Chau city in Anhui province, Bi Chau in Jiangsu province and Vinh Thanh in Henan province. Merchants buy the placenta for about 80 yuan ($ 12.3) each from hospitals, medical waste treatment plants, and even funeral homes. This activity is illegal, meaning that the number of traded placenta cannot be checked for infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, HIV, syphilis or not.

“Eating the placenta is no different from eating meat,” said Lin Xiu, an obstetrician from the Maternity Hospital in Guangxi Choang Autonomous Region. If the mother has an infectious disease, the placenta also carries the virus. Conventional cooking cannot destroy those viruses. Only methods such as steam disinfection, often used to clean surgical instruments, can do this. So eating fresh placenta can make you sick.

Liu Yi, who lives in Bi Chau, said he has been selling placenta since 1996. His family processed about 130,000 fresh placenta last year. Another person, also in this city, Yan Jun said his family processes more than 7,000 human placenta each month into dry goods, with a total weight of 700-800 kg. The two earn about 5 yuan per dry placenta.

Placenta processing includes washing, boiling, chopping and baking in the oven. It is then pulverized and formed into individual capsules.

According to Yan, it was very easy to get the human placenta in the hospital before. However, after a rigorous sweep in recent years, Yan has turned to sourcing from medical waste treatment plants or intermediaries. Yan said one of the men was a cleaning worker at a hospital in Ngizhou, Hubei.

The human placenta sac is known as “death hole” at a traditional Chinese pharmacy. Image: SCMP

The Chinese Ministry of Health stipulates that the placenta is owned by pregnant women. When new mothers decide to give up, hospitals treat them as medical waste.

On the online shopping platform Taobao, the baby boy’s placenta sells for 480 yuan ($ 73), and for girls 450 yuan ($ 69). This difference stems from a long-standing concept. The Chinese believe that the male placenta is more healthier. The seller uses ambiguous and difficult to understand language to disguise the items, avoiding detection by authorities.

An online stall owner said customers use the placenta to cook soup. A visitor left a comment on this website: “I have bought the placenta many times. I stew or chopped it to stuff the dumplings. After eating the placenta, my sleep quality and skin condition improved. “.

Some pharmacies also sell products related to the placenta. This activity is a loophole of the current regulations, the Ministry of Health banned the trafficking of human placenta in 2005, but there is no law prohibiting the sale of “drugs prepared from the placenta”, nor has regulation to control origin of raw materials.

Lawyer Zhang Xinnian, based in Beijing, said China’s commercial laws are also vulnerable. No company or individual is allowed to buy and sell the placenta, but it is not enough to have the means of law enforcement or sanctions against violators. Hospital staff who trade the placenta will be subject to legal investigation, penalties and proceeds of the illegal activity, officials said.

Thuc Linh (Follow SCMP)


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