The story appears on

Page A3

May 18, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Society

Dangerous parasite discovered in imported eels

A PARASITE that can cause epilepsy and lead to paralysis has been found in batches of eels imported from Indonesia and the Philippines, Shanghai authorities said yesterday.

The city is to urge state-level authorities to ban eel imports from the two countries to ensure food safety.

It was the first time the parasite, "gnathostoma spinigerum," had been found in China, officials with the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said.

The bureau tested 26 samples of eels imported from Indonesia, and the parasite was found in 14 samples. It was also found in nine samples from Philippines. The parasite lives in the eels' flesh and internal organs.

"We found that the parasite belongs to the breeds which are harmful to health," said Li Chunyang, an official with the bureau.

The parasite can affect both livestock and humans. It is spread through food, by contact with infected animals and can be passed from mothers to their new-born babies, officials said.

"Infections of the parasite are not common in China," Li said. "Up to now, fewer than 50 cases have been reported."

Bureau officials said there was a large market for eels in China and imported products were popular.

The country also produces eels for consumption, but it has become widely known that many raisers use birth control medication to accelerate their growth.

Industry insiders said the use of prophylactics had become the prevailing practice in the raising of eels in China, thus long and large eels had become less popular as more consumers found out how they were being raised.

This has led to increased demand for the imported variety.

But imported eels have also raised safety concerns. At the end of 2006, Shenzhen entry-exit inspection authorities found green and violet crystal residue in eels. The residue, from drugs used to kill parasites, were believed to be carcinogenic.

The Shanghai bureau said it was strengthening inspection of imported eels, and were suggesting that all ports in the country do the same.

"We hope that the state authorities can suspend the approval of eel imports for some time," said Li.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend