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June 3, 2011

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Bullfrogs tested for cholera

Bullfrogs at two stores in Shanghai's biggest aquatic wholesale market were withdrawn from sale and sealed yesterday because it was suspected they contained bacteria that can cause cholera.

More than 400 kilograms of bullfrogs were removed from the shelves at the Mingquan Bullfrog Firm and Guangbao Bullfrog Firm in the Tongchuan Road market.

The frogs were not raised in Shanghai, but came from southeast China's Fujian Province, officials with the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said.

The Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention has taken frog samples for further laboratory tests. The bureau said further action depended on what the test results revealed.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said it will take steps to prevent suspect frogs from being used by local restaurants.

The trade in bullfrogs is currently at its peak, with 30,000 to 40,000 kilograms of frogs sold from the market every day. Almost all the frogs come from Zhangzhou City, Yunxiao County and Zhangpu County, all in Fujian.

The first signs of a problem came in east China's Jiangsu Province last week when officials from the Suzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention found suspect frogs in a wet market in Kunshan during a regular market inspection. The market has since stopped selling bullfrogs.

Officials said the bacteria in question, comma bacillus, exists in frogs' livers, which people don't usually eat. It can be killed by heat so won't present a problem if the frogs are well cooked.

The Suzhou officials said they had traced the frogs to the Tongchuan Road market, and the Mingquan and Guangbao stores were involved.

Meanwhile, officials in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, said there had been no cases of cholera reported.

Suzhou officials also said they had found no cases of cholera as a result of eating bullfrogs.

However, they said they were still highly concerned as cholera could spread rapidly.


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