Transit mix-up leaves US crustaceans rotting in Chinese airport

Published on
February 1, 2018

Live U.S. seafood destined for the rush Chinese New Year market was rotten on arrival, according to Chinese inspection authorities, and transit problems into Chinese regional airports could be to blame.

Thirty boxes of scampi imported from the U.S., weighing 430 kilograms, were destroyed with much fanfare by inspection authorities in the main airport of the massive metropolis of Chongqing. Neither the buyer nor supplier was identified in a statement from the local office of China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ). 

The scampi – referred to as lobster in some Mandarin news reports – was due in Chongqing on 29 December but only arrived on 3 January, according to the CIQ, which appears to have waited some time to destroy the product, in full view of media cameras.

Chongqing is one of many inland Chinese cities that have recently been allowed to conduct customs inspections and collect duties on imported food products. Last year, 82.9 tons of live seafood arrived in Chongqing Airport - an increase of 3,260 percent over the same period of last year.

Contributing Editor reporting from Beijing, China

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