Falsely labeled crabs upset the market
Updated: 2012-10-16 13:23
By Tang Zhihao in Shanghai (China Daily)
A fisherman showing reporters Yangchenghu hairy crabs that he has just caught in Yangcheng Lake, Jiangsu province. Every mid-autumn season, Yangchenghu crabs, the most popular delicacy of its kind in China, come under the media's spotlight. However, buyers' preferences for genuine Yangchenghu crabs are not being met with increasing quality and a better pricing system this year, and there is again news about falsely labeled crabs being sold. Gao Zheng / for China Daily
Mark-up for genuine Yangchenghu crustaceans can be as much as 700%
Li Yiqi, a businessman in Ma'anshan, Anhui province, planned to buy some sought-after Yangchenghu hairy crabs as gifts for his friends and family members for the Mid-Autumn Festival this year. However, he did not put the plan into operation.
"I was told there are many fake Yangchenghu crabs. It is very hard to verify the authenticity, although all crabs traders claim their crabs are authentic," said Li. "It would have made me feel bad if I had paid the price for authentic Yangchenghu crabs but received fake ones".
Yangcheng is a freshwater lake northeast of Suzhou in Jiangsu province. Hairy crabs from there are known as the best and tastiest crabs in China because of their good living environment and high nutritional value.
For many Chinese gourmands, especially those in Shanghai, Jiangsu province and Zhejiang province, eating Yangchenghu (or Yangcheng Lake) hairy crabs has become a must in autumn. With the increasing brand awareness, cities including Beijing have also reported increasing demand for the delicacy in recent years.
The end of October is the best season to enjoy crabs, when Chinese gourmands will gather around Bacheng township, Weiting township and Lianhua Island in the Yangcheng Lake area.
The statistics from Suzhou Yangcheng Lake Crab Association show the output for the crabs will be around 2,200 tons in 2012. The crabs will be distributed around China according to local demand with large cities receiving a higher proportion.
The increasing demand has led to Yangchenghu crabs being traded at higher prices than others in the market. In Shanghai, a pair of authentic Yangchenghu crabs can be sold for more than 100 yuan ($15.75), the heavier the more expensive. Crabs not native to Yangcheng Lake are often sold for less than 10 yuan each.
However, buyers' preferences for genuine Yangchenghu crabs is not being met with increasing quality and a better pricing system. Almost every year there is news about falsely labeled crabs being sold.