Regulatory change allows Irish crab back into Chinese market, but supply remains tight

Irish crabs in a bucket

Brown crab from the U.K. and Ireland has once again become eligible for export into China, but a leading seafood trader in China has warned that both supply and demand remain constrained.

For years, the Chinese government has placed restrictions on brown crab imports due to concerns about cadmium – a contaminant found in crabs. Those restrictions have been met with consternation from Irish and U.K. exporters.

In June 2023, the General Administration of Customs China (GACC) updated its regulatory standard for cadmium levels in brown crab, with the previous maximal limit of 0.5 milligrams per kilogram of cadmium concentration amended to 3.0 mg/kg.

“The previous per-consignment cadmium testing regime was replaced from 1 November 2023 by a routine export certification model supported by a cadmium-specific background monitoring program under which Irish food business operators will export crab to China," Ireland’s Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) told SeafoodSource in a statement. "This aligns with current routine controls and is supported by sampling results provided by the Marine Institute.”

The SFPA said brown crab exports to China have ...

Photo courtesy of Mick Harper/Shutterstock


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