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Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 23:12

Sales of hairy crabs from 2 Jiangsu farms suspended

By chinadailyasia.com

Sales of hairy crabs from 2 Jiangsu farms suspended
This picture taken on Oct 18, 2016 shows a chef holding a hairy crab dish in a restaurant in Bacheng township near Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan.  ( Johannes EISELE / AFP)

HONG KONG - The Centre for Food Safety on Tuesday suspended imports and sales in Hong Kong of hairy crabs from two aquaculture farms in Jiangsu province after they were found to contain excessive dioxins and dioxin-like substances.

Dioxins can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and cause cancer

The center urged traders in the city to stop selling hairy crabs imported from Wujiang Wanqing Taihu Crab Breeding Co and Jiangsu Taihu Aquatic Product Co.

The center conducted tests on five hairy crab samples in late September. The results showed that two of the samples totaling about 12 kg were found to contain dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These were levels exceeding the one adopted by the center at 6.5 pictograms toxic equivalent per gram of the food sample (wet weight), explained a spokesman for the center.

Affected importers in Hong Kong began to clear their shelves of hairy crabs from the two Jiangsu suppliers on Tuesday. The center instructed them to stop selling hairy crabs and to initiate a recall. Tracing distribution of the affected products is now under way.

The center advises consumers who bought similar food items recently but are not sure about their source to refrain from eating them. They should also check the origin of the products with retailers.

The spokesman said the center will continue to follow up the ongoing investigation into the incident and take appropriate action. This includes stepping up surveillance and continuing to trace distribution of affected food. This is needed to safeguard food safety and public health.

Dioxins are a group of chemical compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants and highly toxic. They can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and cause cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs as human carcinogens.

Dioxins arise either naturally or as by-products of industrial activities, such as metal smelting, molding or burning of chlorine-containing organic chemicals such as plastics. Dioxins are fat-soluble and not easily broken down. They tend to accumulate in fatty tissues and along the food chain.

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