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June 7, 2012

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Wholesale market sells dead crayfish

AUTHORITIES in Minhang District have confiscated more than 30 kilograms of dead crayfish from a wholesale market in Qibao Town, which was found selling the freshwater crustaceans to local delicatessens.

The development prompted the city to promise to step up checks over delicatessens as summer approaches.

Among the seven crayfish booths at the market, two were found selling dead crayfish and they will be punished, authorities said. One eatery in nearby Xuhui District has already been ordered to suspend operation for processing and selling dead crayfish.

Crayfish sells at 18-22 yuan (up to US$3.55) per kilo depending on size, but dead ones, which constitute about 4 percent of the market, sell for only 4-6 yuan per kilo.

Eating dead crayfish can cause vomiting, abdominal pain and food poisoning, said Shen Zhenwei, a doctor with Shanghai East Hospital. "Crayfish protein can discharge a large amount of histamine and can trigger hives, asthma and cardiovascular diseases," Shen said.

Customers should check the tails of boiled crayfish. A straight tail means the crayfish was already dead before cooking and consumers should not touch its black gill.

Meanwhile, local industrial and commercial watchdog officials said they would inspect delicatessens as well as zongzi (rice dumplings) as Dragon Boat Festival approaches.

"The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau will conduct intensive checks over delicatessens in the next three to four months," said Peng Wenhao, the bureau's deputy director.

Purchasing channels, hygiene conditions and operation certificates of local delicatessens will be targeted, she said.


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