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Fakes making dealers crabby [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-10-30 16:49:33 |Display all floors

A retailer packs crabs in her shop in Beijing. The sales of Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs rocketed during the National Day holiday in 2012. Photo: CFP

Zheng Xiaohua, a 28-year-old hairy crab farmer at Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, said it’s difficult to make it big in the crab business, though he fervently believes his crabs are among the finest on the market.

The Yangcheng Lake hairy crab farming area covers 120 square kilometers of waters in total. Autumn is the best time of the year for crab lovers to taste hairy crabs, and the renowned Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs are considered the tastiest. Nationwide demand for the area’s hairy crabs spiked when fishing started on September 22, however, crab dealers selling inauthentic crabs at lower prices are making it hard for Zheng to stay competitive, he said, while government and industry bodies are failing to fix the problems.

Starting out with a crab-feeding operation two decades ago, Zheng’s family now owns a crab farming operation that covers 40,000 square meters of water, and runs an online crab shop. With big companies dominating the local market and ineffective crackdowns on “fake” crab dealers, Zheng said he can only rely on word of mouth when it comes to promoting his business.

“Some crab dealing companies are owned by the bosses at the crab association, and it’s easier for them to be officially recognized and receive a certificate,” he said, adding that this meant they could mix inauthentic crabs with real ones.
‘Fake’ crabs?

Hairy crabs caught in Yangcheng Lake are recognized as luxury crabs in China, and are subject to a limited amount of sales each year at higher prices. The crabs there are famous for their bigger size and better taste due to a good feeding environment, and the Suzhou government has been aggressively promoting hairy crabs as one of their local specialties. This also gives incentive to those looking to cash in on the fame of the not-so-humble Yangcheng hairy crab.

Crab dealers have come up with various methods to sell “fake” crabs. According to a recent report in the Life Times, many of the so-called Yangcheng Lake crabs are not fed in the lake at all. Dealers either choose larger crabs that have been fed in pools then put a Yangcheng Lake tag on them, or they take them to the lake for a few days before selling them on the market as real ones. Customers, on the other hand, do not always know how to tell which are from Yangchang lake.

According to industry insiders, less than 1 percent of the so-called Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs sold on the Chinese market are real, the report stated. Normally real crabs are sold at 200 yuan ($32) for 500 grams, sometimes cheaper online, but fake dealers offer prices as low as 20 to 30 yuan.

A Shanghai native, surnamed Wei, who used to work with a website for one of the Suzhou crab dealers, told the Global Times that even in Suzhou, most of the Yangcheng Lake crabs sold on the market or online are fake.

“With a limited amount available for sales and some exported to foreign countries, the best way to get real ones are from special channels, for example, authorized dealers and people with connections with Yangcheng Lake crab farmers,” Wei said.

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Post time 2012-10-30 16:49:49 |Display all floors
Attempts to regulate

“We have been tagging the real crabs from Yangcheng Lake since 2005, with a small ring that carries serial numbers on each crab. Customers can find out whether they’re fake or not by calling our hotline,” said Lao Weiliang, an official with the Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision of Suzhou. The ring tags are put on the crabs produced in the lake only, and each year agricultural authorities calculate the number of crabs produced, he said.

However, the Life Times report indicated that these rings can be purchased at the market for one or two yuan if customers – or, potentially, those looking to sell them – ask the dealer to tag them.

“Some dealers fabricated rings to cheat customers, or they manage to copy information from real ones and embed it in their fake tags,” Lao said, clarifying that they’re not issuing tags to dealers who are willing to pay.

The quality and technical supervision bureau have tried their best but fake crabs are still rife because dealers are not well disciplined and there is little industry management, said Lao. Although there is an industry association for the Yangcheng Lake crab business, dealers are driven by the huge profit and do not abide by the rules, he noted.

The bureau can levy a maximum 30,000 yuan fine on fake crab dealers, according to a Suzhou regulation, but local crab associations do not have the authority to punish those who break the rules.

Calls for harsher measures

The local industry association has accused government authorities of not doing enough.

“The management and crackdown on fake crab dealers should involve collaboration among agricultural, market and quality inspection authorities. But they sometimes dodge their responsibilities when problems occur, and do not always work well together and leave the mess to the other side,” said Yang Weilong, head of the Suzhou Yangcheng Lake Hairy Crab Association.

Lao said they plan to cooperate with the crab farmers at Yangcheng Lake and launch an official e-commerce website and establish an industry code for the hairy crab business in Jiangsu Province.

The consumption of hairy crabs in China now exceeds 300,000 tons each year and the demand in Shanghai alone is 50,000 tons per year, according to the Life Times report. However, the annual output of crabs available for sale from Yangcheng Lake is about 2,100 to 2,200 tons, Yang said.

They have become such a premium product that some commentators have indicated hairy crabs are an effective tool for identifying corrupt officials. Recent reports have revealed that several officials in Zhejiang spent 160,000 yuan eating crabs from Yangcheng Lake while they visited Suzhou. The officials were later found to have been involved in financial scandals and were suspended.

However, some believe not all the crabs are healthy. Concerns over hairy crabs spread online in 2009 when rumors spread, indicating that hairy crabs were being fed dead animal bodies, antibiotics and contraceptive drugs to make them grow faster. The Yangcheng Lake hairy crab association denied using unhealthy feed.

source: global times

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Post time 2012-10-30 16:54:08 |Display all floors
Hairy Crabs, just like Mooncakes.  Overpriced and overrated.  People are stupid paying that much for them.

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Post time 2012-10-31 10:38:26 |Display all floors
grb Post time: 2012-10-30 16:54
Hairy Crabs, just like Mooncakes.  Overpriced and overrated.  People are stupid paying that much for ...

Agreed

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Post time 2012-10-31 11:08:25 |Display all floors
Luckly,I don't like the hairy crabs and  the mooncake,

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Post time 2012-10-31 12:59:39 |Display all floors
amuyaima Post time: 2012-10-31 10:38
Agreed

Agree with your point....

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