More than 800 kilos of hairy crabs have been recalled by the government after some imports from Taihu Lake in Jiangsu province tested positive for dioxin, a carcinogenic chemical,
The dioxin content in the samples exceeded safety limits, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing the Center for Food Safety (CFS).
Six specimens were taken for a second round of testing, expected to take up to two weeks.
Old Sanyang, an importer and retailer of the seasonal delicacy, criticized the CFS for the recall, saying its self-owned breeding grounds are not contaminated.
The company showed a certificate of mainland inspection. It said it has sent samples to Europe for further testing.
Dr. Ko Wing-man, head of the Food and Health Bureau, said any importer who owns crab breeding grounds must stop selling hairy crabs immediately.
Failure to comply will result in enforcement action, he said.
The provincial inspection and quarantine bureau in Jiangsu has banned several companies from selling hairy crabs, according to reports.
These include Wujiang Wanqing Taihu Lake Crabs Breed-Aquatics Co. Ltd. and Jiangsu Taihu Lake Aquatics Ltd.
Authorities will further investigate how many breeding grounds are owned by these companies.
Also, they have launched an investigation into the source of the contamination.
Initial analysis points to potential pollution in Tahu Lake.
CFS controller Dr. Tam Lai-fan said individual crab suppliers could provide evidence to facilitate inspections.
Meanwhile, Old Sanyang said its business has dropped 90 percent due to the contamination scare, Headline Daily reports.
By Thursday, the company had 100 trays of Jiangsu hairy crabs and 2,000 kilos imported that day.
Managing director Qi Yufeng said the incident will cost the company HK$5 million (US$739,530) in losses.
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