Hong Kong im­porters pull tainted hairy crabs

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By WILLA WU in Hong Kong and CANG WEI in Nanjing Shadow Li and Dara Wang con­trib­uted to this story. Con­tact the writ­ers at willa@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Im­porters of hairy crabs in Hong Kong re­called pro­duce from two aqua­cul­ture farms in Jiangsu prov­ince on Wed­nes­day, as ex­ces­sive lev­els of chem­i­cals linked to can­cer were found in sam­ples.

But some im­porters re­fused to sus­pend sales, claim­ing that they source their crabs from other farms and the two con­cerned farms only han­dle im­port pa­per­work for them.

Two sam­ples of hairy crabs, im­ported from Wu­jiang Wan­qing Taihu Crab Breed­ing Co and Jiangsu Taihu Aquatic Prod­uct Co, were found to con­tain 11.7 picograms and 40.3 picograms per gram of diox­ins and dioxin-like poly­chlo­ri­nated biphenyls re­spec­tively. The toxic chem­i­cal com­pounds can lead to re­pro­duc­tive and de­vel­op­men­tal prob­lems, dam­age the im­mune sys­tem, in­ter­fere with hor­mones and cause can­cer.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Food Safety in Hong Kong, the ac­cept­able level of the two chem­i­cals con­tained in food is 6.5 picograms.

The cen­ter on Tues­day re­leased a list of 15 local im­porters that sell the tainted hairy crabs, urg­ing them to sus­pend sales and im­ports from the two Jiangsu sup­pli­ers.

Wah Kee Wing Cheong Ho is among the 15 im­porters. Stephen Chu, direc­tor of the 50-year-old com­pany, told China Daily that his shop will con­tinue sell­ing hairy crabs. Chu said the crabs were not sourced from the two farms in ques­tion and had passed all safety tests when they en­tered Hong Kong. He added that his busi­ness was con­nected to one of the two farms in Jiangsu, but only for the han­dling of im­port pa­per­work.

LiWei­hong, direc­tor of the pub­lic­ity depart­ment of Jiangsu En­try-Exit In­spec­tion and Quar­an­tine Bureau, said that his bureau and the Jiangsu Ocean and Fish­eries Bureau were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the two farms.

“We have sus­pended the in­spec­tion and quar­an­tine of the two com­pa­nies’ prod­ucts. And hairy crab sam­ples farmed at the two com­pa­nies have been sent to au­tho­rized agen­cies for fur­ther and de­tailed ex­am­i­na­tion,” Li said.

Thus far, all tests of the farms’ crabs met the food safety stan­dards of the re­lated de­part­ments in Hong Kong, ac­cord­ing to Li.

PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY

Crabs are on sale at a store in Cause­way Bay in Hong Kong on Tues­day.

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