Since last August, customs officials in South Korea say they have intercepted between 17,000 and 17,500 pills filled with finely-ground human baby flesh, which is said to be both a stamina-enhancer and medical panacea in parts of Asia.

The Daily Mail explains:

The grim trade is being run from China where corrupt medical staff are said to be tipping off medical companies when babies are aborted or delivered still-born.

The tiny corpses are then bought, stored in household refrigerators in homes of those involved in the trade before they are removed and taken to clinics where they are placed in medical drying microwaves.

Once the skin is tinder dry, it is pummeled into powder and then processed into capsules along with herbs to disguise the true ingredients from health investigators and customs officers.

Shocking: Customs Officials Intercept 17,000 Pills Filled With Powdered Baby Flesh Out of China

These particular pills are not related to those confiscated by customs (Photo: Wiki Commons)

While many are shocked and disgusted at the practice, it seems as though officials in South Korea are equally concerned about the sanitary concerns associated with ingesting human remains.

“It was confirmed those capsules contain materials harmful to the human body, such as super bacteria. We need to take tougher measures to protect public health,” the BBC quotes an official as saying in the Korea Times.

The allegations that human flesh capsules were being trafficked from north-east China into South Korea emerged last year in a South Korean television documentary, but China’s ministry spokesman insists the country has “strict management of disposal of infant and foetal remains as well as placentas.”

(Related: Is China Making ‘Stamina Pills’ Out of Dead Babies?)

Similarly, the smugglers have claimed ignorance of what the pills truly contained, saying they thought they were ordinary “stamina boosters.”

Shocking: Customs Officials Intercept 17,000 Pills Filled With Powdered Baby Flesh Out of China

DNA testing showed that 99.7% of the powder was actually human remains

Neither China’s Food and Drug Administration nor its health ministry responded to questions Monday, according to the Telegraph, but the paper reports: “The capsules were all confiscated but no one has been punished because the amount was deemed small and they weren’t intended for sale.”

Even more horrifying, if possible, some are reporting that it may not have only been aborted or stillborn babies used in the pills– it’s possible that some were born and left to die in China’s “dying rooms” before being ground for the capsules, because they were born into families that already had one child.

Reports say the South Koreans are unwilling to press the issue for fear of creating a diplomatic rift with China, instead preferring to let Chinese officials investigate and take any necessary action.