A certain Ms Yang made a shocking discovery in Guangzhou, China when she purchased six expensive giant tiger prawns in the said port city. Although she was initially pleased with the product, she later found out that the prawns’ heads contained gel.
It wasn’t easy to detect but the intent was clear: the gel has been injected to add weight to the shrimp, allowing sellers to earn some extra profit. Unfortunately, the general public remains clueless about who are behind the unscrupulous act.
Photos of the gel-injected shrimps eventually went viral on Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, sparking concerns among buyers.
Shanghai Ocean University professor Wu Wenhui told the media that the public need to be warned about industrial gel, which some shrimp sellers may use since they’re much cheaper compared with edible gel.
“Industrial gel is used for furniture, print, and contains many heavy metals such as lead and mercury, which harms the liver and blood, and is even carcinogenic.”
Liu Huiping, executive council member of the Tianjin aquatic products association, likewise added:
“Even if what was injected was edible gel, which may not itself be harmful, who can guarantee that the process is aseptic?”
As it appears, Chinese authorities are not showing sufficient interest to go after the culprits – despite the obvious dangers.
Cui Hongtao, deputy director of administration for industry and commerce in Tianjin seaport, pointed out that the Industry and Commerce “only accepts products for investigation that have already failed the Agricultural Department’s examination,” according to a report by Epoch Times.
Meanwhile, Cui Chunming, deputy director of the Tianjin Sanitation Supervision Department, said:
“There is no need for examination, because you can tell whether there has been an injection with your own eyes. Regardless of what’s being injected, it is not allowed, and the adulterating is illegal behavior.”
Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food & Water Watch in the US, believes American buyers have a legitimate reason to worry about shrimps coming from China.
In an interview, she admitted:
“We do know that they are struggling with food safety regulation in China, and there are constant stories written about food safety problems.
“Our FDA, they have an office in China, but they don’t get out very much to do a lot of inspections. A couple hundred inspections a year is nothing compared to how many food operations are out there. (The FDA) don’t have very much inspection at the border here when it’s coming in. They will get less than 2 percent of what’s coming in, so importers will take their chances sometimes. … They might try to send in something that’s not okay.”
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