Autumn, a time of clear skies and bracing weather, is also the season for freshwater hairy crabs.
Consumers should, however, pay particular attention to food safety when eating hairy crabs.
"They should buy the crabs only from reputable shops or restaurants," a spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department advised. "Also, they should avoid eating too many hairy crabs, particularly the cholesterol-rich roe and sperm. Patients with chronic illnesses should eat hairy crabs in moderation."
Crab-lovers are advised to heed the following safety advice:
In the shop:
* Buy hairy crabs from reputable shops and restaurants.
* Hairy crabs for sale must be kept in the refrigerator.
* Buy live hairy crabs with intact, shiny shells without a foul smell.
* Prepare and consume hairy crabs soon after purchase. Dead crabs are highly perishable and, therefore, unfit for human consumption.
* Wrap the crabs properly and store separately from other foods in the refrigerator to avoid cross-contamination.
* Clean the refrigerator thoroughly after storing hairy crabs.
* Brush and wash the shells and claws with water before cooking.
* Cook thoroughly before eating as hairy crabs may contain parasites.
* Wash hands with soap and water before meals.
* Avoid eating raw crabs. Condiments such as salt, vinegar, wine and wasabi cannot kill bacteria that may be present.
* Completely remove the intestines before eating.
* Maintain a balanced diet and avoid eating too many hairy crabs, particularly the cholesterol-rich roe and sperm.
* Patients with chronic illnesses should only eat hairy crabs in moderation.
Ends/Saturday, October 9, 2004