Some local markets in Wenzhou have stopped selling frozen prawns while government inspectors conduct checks after some of the shellfish were found injected with jelly.
An official of the Ruian Market Supervision Administration confirmed the prawns have been withdrawn from sale.
Frozen prawns, which tend to look shriveled and discolored when thawed, become heavier and appear more natural when injected with jelly, according to a local businessman cited by news website Fawan.com.
A buyer, surnamed Zheng, said she was shocked to find the prawns she had recently bought had been plumped up.
Li Zhongyu, a chemist in Wenzhou University, said the substance could be gelatin, a form of collagen commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
If any industrial chemical was used, the prawns could pose a serious health hazard, he said.
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