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February 13, 2012

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Watchdogs say no gelatin-injected shrimps found

CITY food safety watchdogs yesterday said that they have found no evidence of shrimps injected with gelatin being sold in Shanghai.

The follows reports that sellers in Tianjin in northern China were injecting shrimps with the additive to increase their weight and improve their appearance.

Gu Zhenhua, vice director of Shanghai Food Safety Office, said food additives should only be used when necessary.

"There is no need to put gelatin into shrimp," Gu said.

"It is illegal to add unnecessary additives into food, even though in this case they don't harm people's health."

Officials from Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said they haven't found any gelatin-injected shrimps in local wet markets.

According to China National Radio, some Tianjin shoppers recently found that shrimps had been injected with gelatin.

One Tianjin resident, surnamed Zhang, said she saw some good-sized shrimps with strong color and big heads in a wet market and bought 2.5 kilogram.

"But when I started washing them, I found their heads fell off easily and there was a jelly-like substance inside," she said.

Wet market vendors admitted frozen shrimps were injected with gelatin, a legal food additive used in making candy.

This made them look fresh and bulked them up - adding 20 to 30 percent to their weight.

Sellers defended the practice, claiming it was completely safe as gelatin is a legal food additive.

But Ye Jiannong, a national political adviser and chemistry professor in Shanghai, said vendors were wrong to do this.

"They just want to earn more money by adding unnecessary additives," Ye said.


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