Food safety worries sparked by Shanghai seafood market exposé

Published on
April 28, 2017

“Chaotic” management at Shanghai’s largest seafood wholesale market has led to worries over food safety there.

The recent closure of the Tongchun Lu market has led to a large number of unlicensed vendors – some operating outdoors in unrefrigerated environments – and overcrowding at the Jiang Yang market in Shanghai’s Baoshan district, according to the government-run Fa Zhi Shehui (Law and Society) newspaper.

The newspaper reported that a mass of vendors from Tongchun moved into Jiang Yang without getting formal licenses or permits to sell. Furthermore, it claims that catering buyers – the majority of buyers at the Jiang Yang – were seen buying badly dehydrated and low-quality seafood.

The incident reflects badly on handling in Shanghai, China’s wealthiest city and a key seafood consumption hub. Chinese efforts to improve food safety, with increased CFDA inspections, appear to have a way to go.

Live product remains the dominant seller in China’s seafood markets, with pricing for live product up 1.41 percent month-on-month at the Dongfang market in Shanghai, at an average CNY 57.97 (USD 8.42, EUR 7.70) per kg. This compares to an average price of CNY 43.76 (USD 6.36, EUR 5.82)  for chilled seafood and an average of CNY 40.31 (USD 5.85, EUR 5.36) per kg for frozen product. 

“A shortage of saury, pomfret, yellow croaker and ribbonfish seems to intensify each year,” according to a spokesperson for the Dongfang market management. 

Contributing Editor reporting from Beijing, China

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