On June 7, 1983, while touring China, Kim Jong Il visited a canned food factory in Shanghai.
An official of the factory explained the process of sterilization to him.
Underlining the importance of sterilization at foodstuff factories, the General asked how they were sterilizing cans.
The Korean interpreter translated the reply. “Cans are sterilized at 120°C for eight minutes.”
The General looked dubious, saying, “It must be 4°C or 5°C higher than that.”
The interpreter asked the Chinese official to confirm the temperature.
Then he said in an embarrassing tone, “I was wrong. He says it is 124°C.”
He made a mistake because of the noisy machines.
Kim Jong Il nodded, and said that cans could be sterilized thoroughly at 124°C for eight minutes.
This reminded the accompanying officials of what happened some days ago when he was looking round a brewery in Qingdao.
That day he asked the manager what kind of antiseptic they were using on the inside of cans and whether beer tasted different in that case.
As he was confused by his expert questions, the manager answered that it had the same taste.
The General asked again if it was true.
The manager admitted his mistake, and said with an awkward look, “Frankly speaking, the beer tastes a bit different. We are making effort to solve the problem.”
The General laughed merrily.