02/17/2012, 00.00
CHINA
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"Glue" shrimps latest food scandal in China

The discovery in the fish market in Tianjin after the complaint of consumers. Shrimp were injected with the liquid to increase weight and texture "up to 30%." There is no official confirmation on the toxicity, but it has its dangers. A new alert after melamine-tainted milk, carcinogenic cheese, and antifreeze toothpaste.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Food Safety Agency in Tianjin Municipality, north China, has opened an investigation against a fish market in the area over the possible contamination of fish. The investigation was launched after widespread Internet warnings on consignments of shrimps "injected with a chemical similar to a jelly glue" designed to increase their weight and texture. Local sources report that, in recent days, a woman named Zhang purchased approximately 2.5 kg of fresh and apparently large shrimp: after washing, the crustaceans lost their consistency and leaked an "anomalous" liquid".

Although there is no official confirmation, according to experts it would seem the gelatin used make shrimp (pictured) fresher and up to " %" heavier. Retailers claim that the food additive is "legal" and does not constitute a threat to health. However, to defuse the controversy and protests the Tianjin Chamber of Commerce has promoted a "10 day campaign" to analyze the food product in question and evaluate the quality of fish products in the local market.

A fish vendor, speaking anonymously to China's official Xinhua news agency confirmed that the gelatin "is injected into the head and stomach" of shrimp, to improve their external aspect. The producers are minimizing the risks in an attempt to calm tensions, but to date no authority has determined that this particular type of gelatin is free from risks to humans. Already in 2011 the local government ordered the closure of a company that was injecting gelatin into crustaceans to increase their weight, seizing 170 kg of product.

The Land of the Dragon is not new to food scares, which continue in spite of government proclamations of controls and safety: last year China Mengniu Dairy Industry admitted the presence of a deadly levels of aflatoxin, the most cancerous substance in the world, and in 2008 six children were killed and a farther 300 thousand made ill from melamine-tainted milk, and again, antifreeze toothpaste, carcinogenic soybeans, bouncing boiled eggs and many other toxic products.

 

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