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Now, fake hairy crabs
( 2003-10-21 16:43) (eastday.com)

Hairy crab lovers should also try crustaceans bred in Hongze Lake or Boyang Lake, two large freshwater pools, instead of just sticking to those from the famous Yangcheng Lake, fishery experts suggested yesterday.

The advice comes after many fake crabs purported to be from the Yangcheng Lake, regarded as China's best origin of hairy crab, were found in local markets.

"If you see a crab with a 'Yangcheng Lake' imprint on its shell, don't be fooled as such laser prints can be made on any crabs for a certain fee," said an anonymous vendor at the Tongchuan Road Aquatic Products Market, the largest local market of its kind.

More than 100,000 tons of hairy crabs bearing the "Yangcheng Lake" stamp were sold last year. However, the output of authentic ones was just 1,500 tons, the Yangcheng Lake Crab Trade Association, which manages production and sales of the delicious aquatic product, said.

In a bid to curb fakes, the association began issuing intelligent cards to breeders this year. With the card, breeders can have crabs printed with a laser tag of trademarks and a serial number.

But some breeders have been known to lend their cards to other dealers.

What's more, some unscrupulous businessmen have bought special printers to produce fake laser tags, selling them in towns around Yangcheng Lake.

Paying 0.5 yuan (6 US Cents) for each tag, breeders can print any brand name on the crabs.

"The association has 11 laser printers. But private operators own more machines," Yang Weilong, director of the association, bemoaned.

When authentic crabs are mixed with fake ones carrying the same prints, the breeders themselves can't distinguish them, he added.

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