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Watchdog denies report about exporting iffy crabs to Taiwan
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China's quality control watchdog has rejected a Hong Kong media report which alleged the mainland had exported hairy crabs containing carcinogens to Taiwan, confirming that the mainland had not exported any hairy crabs to Taiwan so far this year.

"The mainland's quarantine authorities have not approved the exports as the two sides are still in talks about quarantine standards," said a spokesman with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ ).

Hairy crabs, mainly bred in East China's Jiangsu Province, have become a popular autumn delicacy in the mainland and have sold well in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and the United States.

But in August the Taiwan authorities published new standards requiring the crabs to contain no detectable drug residues, despite an agreement met with the mainland in July.

"The new standards are too picky and have no scientific grounds, nor do they comply with the WTO rules," said the GAQSIQ spokesman.

"We have noticed that a group in Taiwan is trying to discredit mainland food products. Such politically driven acts will harm normal trade across the Taiwan Strait," said Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council earlier this week.

Official figures show more than 99 percent of the Chinese foods exported to the United States, the European Union and Japan were up to standard in the first half of the year.

China's number one hairy crab exporter, Wuzhong District of Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, sold 1,800 tons of hairy crabs abroad over the last two years.

(Xinhua News Agency September 30, 2007)

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