Tianjin authorities are conducting tests to identify a glue-like material apparently injected into frozen shrimps to increase their weight.
Mainland media have been abuzz with the latest food-safety scandal for the past week, with 'glue-injected' shrimps reported throughout Tianjin.
A wholesaler told Xinhua that frozen shrimps would shrink and lose weight after thawing, and that a 'popular' way around the problem - one that also helped fetch higher prices - was to inject a sticky, transparent material into the heads and stomachs of the crustaceans. The technique would make the shrimps look plumper and more appealing. The wholesaler said the shrimps already contained the substance when he bought them.
Another vendor said shrimp were about 30 per cent heavier after the special treatment, China National Radio reported.
No stores have been punished because there is no regulation governing the practice. The director of the fishing management department at Tianjin's Bureau of Aquatic Products said the material was being studied at a bureau institution and results were expected within two days.
'The essential part of this incident is to find out what this material is, whether it is toxic or not and what effect it will have on the human body,' the official, who declined to be named, said yesterday.
The fishing management official said the case provided another example of supervision lapses, because his agency monitored production and only checked aquatic products for heavy metals and antibiotics, while distribution was overseen by the commerce bureau.
Cui Hongtao, a food safety supervision and management official at Tianjin's Bureau of Industry and Commerce, said it was monitoring the situation and planned to deploy inspection staff across the municipality early next week, Xinhua reported.