Nov 03, 2016 05:00 PM

Jiangsu Halts Exports of Hairy Crabs From Two Aquaculture Farms

Photo: Visual China
Photo: Visual China

(Beijing) — Exports of hairy crabs from two major aquaculture farms in the coastal province of Jiangsu have ground to a halt after Hong Kong food safety inspectors found cancer-causing chemicals in the farms' crustaceans.

The Jiangsu Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said on Wednesday that it has temporarily stopped issuing quarantine certificates, necessary for exports, to shipments from Jiangsu Taihu Aquatic Product Co. Ltd. and Wujiang Wanqing Taihu Lake Crabs Breed Co. Ltd.

The bureau was also investigating whether the two aquaculture farms violated food safety rules, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

The restrictions do not affect sales of the crabs on the mainland.

Nearly 80 per cent of hairy crabs imported by Hong Kong were supplied by the two aquaculture farms, customs records show.

Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety said Monday that 2 out of 5 hairy crab samples it tested from three local importers and two retailers were found to contain excessive levels of dioxin and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls.

Both are highly toxic compounds that can cause cancer and damage the reproductive and immune systems, the center said.

The affected samples originated from the two aquaculture farms in Jiangsu, according to customs records. The two companies have exported 213.8 tons of hairy crabs to Hong Kong this year.

Hong Kong's food safety center said it discovered the toxic crab samples during an inspection in late September.

But quarantine authorities in Jiangsu questioned the center's findings, saying they had conducted more than 300 tests on 23 batches of crabs collected from the two companies throughout the year, and the products had always met Hong Kong's food safety requirements.

Hairy crabs have long been regarded as a delicacy in China, and they are a popular gift during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Contact reporter Li Rongde (; editor Poornima Weerasekara (

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