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Test results on hairy crabs released

     Hairy crabs are now in season and the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has recently conducted a seasonal food surveillance project on hairy crabs, including female mud crabs. Samples were collected at import, wholesale and retail levels for chemical and microbiological tests.

     The CFS today (October 28) announced all test results. Among the 126 samples, results for 125 samples were satisfactory while one sample was found to contain a small amount of veterinary drug residues, 3-amino-2-oxazolidione (AOZ).

     The chemical tests included those for veterinary drug residues (such as chloramphenicol, sulphonamides, tetracycline, nitrofurans and malachite green), metallic contaminants (such as mercury, lead and arsenic), synthetic hormones, colouring matters (such as Sudan dyes) and oxalic acid, while the microbiological tests covered those for parasites.

     "The CFS collected the samples, comprising 114 hairy crabs and 12 female mud crabs, in August and September this year from Man Kam To Control Point, specialised shops selling hairy crabs, grocery stores, supermarkets and wet markets," a CFS spokesman said.

     "One of the hairy crab samples was found to contain a veterinary drug residue, AOZ, at a level of 0.0032 parts per million. But the detected level was low and was unlikely to pose adverse effects upon normal consumption," he added.

     Regarding the sample, the CFS has taken follow-up actions including asking the vendor concerned to stop selling the product and to dispose of the affected food, tracing the source and issuing a warning letter. Follow-up samples were subsequently taken by the CFS for testing and results were satisfactory.

     The spokesman advised the food trade to import hairy crabs with health certificates and to source from reliable suppliers. Hairy crabs for sale must be kept in a refrigerator.

     As for consumers, they should be careful when purchasing and savouring this seasonal delicacy. He advised people to observe the "Five Keys to Food Safety" to prevent food-borne illnesses.

     The "Five Keys to Food Safety" are:

* Buy hairy crabs from reliable and hygienic shops or restaurants; and
* Buy hairy crabs with intact, shiny shells without a foul smell.

Keep clean
* Brush and wash the crab shells and claws before cooking; and
* Wash hands with soapy water before consumption.

Separate raw and cooked food
* Put the crabs in a container with a cover and store them separately from other foods in the refrigerator to avoid cross-contamination.

Cook thoroughly
* Cook thoroughly and remove internal organs completely before consumption; and
* Avoid eating raw crabs. Condiments such as salt, vinegar, wine and wasabi cannot kill bacteria or parasites that may be present.

Safe temperature
* Cooked hairy crabs should be consumed as soon as possible and never keep them at room temperature for more than two hours.

    "People should maintain a balanced diet and avoid eating too many hairy crabs, particularly the cholesterol-rich roe. Patients with chronic illnesses should eat hairy crabs in moderation," the spokesman added.

     For information on more food safety tips, please visit the CFS website (

Ends/Friday, October 28, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:35


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