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Hairy Crabs Safe to Eat after Algae Outbreak
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Hairy crabs in Taihu Lake, one of the most coveted autumn delicacies for the Chinese and other Asian belly-gods, will be safe to eat since they are free from the effects of a severe algae outbreak in May, the government assured the public on Tuesday.

"The algae outbreak has not affected the quality of Taihu crabs," the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said in an announcement.

"The crabs in the licensed breeding farms in east Taihu Lake grow well and no abnormalities have been discovered," it said.

All the much prized crabs subject for exports come from breeding farms registered at and long monitored by the local quality supervision, inspection and quarantine authorities, a local official in Jiangsu said.

The hairy crabs in Taihu Lake near Shanghai are famous for the tender meat and tasty yolk (ovary and digestive glands). They are exported to Japan, Republic of Korean and Hong Kong in a large quantity in autumn every year.

The local authorities check the toxins and medicine residue in the breeding process, and only the crabs that are confirmed safe and properly marked will be exported, the official said.

The licensed breeding farms are more than 60 kilometers from the water area once plagued by severe algae outbreak and therefore unaffected, according to the official. The pollution led to cut-out of water supply to nearby Wuxi City for days in the summer this year.

The local quality control departments have increased the frequency of water quality checkups in east Taihu Lake to ensure the quality of the hairy crabs.

Taihu Lake produces around 10,000 tons of hairy crabs each year.

(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2007)

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