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January 11, 2013

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Busted buffet takes shark fin off menu

GOLDEN Jaguar Shanghai, a buffet restaurant chain, said yesterday they had stopped serving shark fin dishes, a move that came after accusations that the chain was involved in an artificial shark fin scandal.

The Golden Jaguar outlet on Yan'an Road W. suspended serving shark fin cuisine as of Wednesday, according to a staff member who declined to be identified. She said she had no idea why it was dropped.

Another outlet of the buffet chain inside the Huijin Department Store said it had not served shark fin dishes for a long time.

Officials with the Shanghai-based Golden Jaguar Group were unavailable for comment yesterday.

The buffet chain brand came under fire after an unnamed eatery shown in a CCTV program selling artificial shark fin soup with cheap shark fin powder was recognized as an outlet of Jaguar Group, the Legal Evening News reported yesterday.

Reporters from China Central Television sent shark fin dishes to quality watchdogs and most were found to be nothing but gelatin, coloring agents and additives like seaweed extract.

Restaurant industry insiders told CCTV that about 40 percent of restaurants nationwide made excessive profits by using synthesized shark fin products. They said it was an open secret. A pack of powder can be made into at least six bowls of shark fin soup, meaning the cost of the dish priced at hundreds of yuan on most menus is only a few yuan.

The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said it has started an investigation into shark fin products in the city.


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