German mitten crabs not 'qualified for import'

Updated: 2013-08-22 23:56

By XU JUNQIAN and XU WEI (China Daily)

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German mitten crabs not 'qualified for import'

A picture shows the main street after the river Elbe flooded the village of Kabelitz north of Magdeburg June 10, 2013. During floods in June tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes.[Agencies]

China's top inspection and quarantine authority warned on Thursday that mitten crabs from Germany are not qualified to be imported without going through quarantine after thousands of such crabs were ordered from an online shopping site.

The authority has not received any application for risk assessment and quarantine from German authorities for the crabs, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said on Thursday.

The mitten crabs were put on sale by a Suzhou-based e-commerce food company, Dadiyuansheng e-commerce co, on Sunday at its online store and, a group buying site under Alibaba group, China's largest e-commerce company.

Labeled as "German wild crabs from the unpolluted Elbe" and priced from 199 yuan ($32.50) to 399 yuan a pack depending on the weight and number of crabs contained, the products attracted tens of thousands of orders within less than a week and about 300,000 German crabs had been ordered online as of Thursday.

The quarantine authority said imported crabs that have not been quarantined could carry risks of disease as the species has been in German waters for nearly 100 years and mutation is possible.

The authority has already conducted an emergency discussion with the group shopping site, asking them to come up with a "proper" solution to the problem and an explanation to the public.

Responding to the authorities, the group buying site said on its micro blog that mitten crabs would "definitely" go through customs clearance in both Germany and China.

"The sales of Germany mitten crabs are through a customer to business model. And, quite different from traditional export and import trade, the model gathers orders online and then stocks up for sales," the site said in a micro blog message.

It added that the mitten crabs could not yet be declared at customs because the seller is still stocking up on them.

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