Fake Gucci, fake condoms and now fake jellyfish. Being a consumer in China never gets old.
More than a ton of fake jellyfish were seized in Changzhou, Jiangsu province earlier this week. A popular dish along China’s eastern and southern coast, real jellyfish is often served sliced in cold salads by itself or alongside other cold meats and vegetables.
After receiving a tip, police in Huzhou city were able to trace the counterfeit jellies to a local vendor surnamed Yuan, who has been selling his “goods” at a farmers’ market in Wuxing for the past year. Yuan confessed the synthetic seafood took half the time that genuine jellyfish take to mature, allowing him and his business partners to produce a total of 10 tons of chemical “jellyfish” and profit upwards of 100,000 yuan. Yuan also provided the names of his associates and another leader surnamed Jia, who were all arrested at a larger “jellyfish” distribution center in Changzhou.
People’s Daily reports that the shanzhai seafood was produced by combining alginic, ammonium alum and calcium chloride anhydrous to mime the gelatinous, rope-like appearance of real jellyfish. Sound appetizing? Well, apparently Yuan was well aware that there were potential health risks associated with the consumption of his “seafood.”
Tests revealed harmful amounts of aluminum in the fake jellyfish — enough to result in bone and nerve damage, and even harm memory, the BBC reported. So this adds yet another item to the ever-growing list of things that you should exercise caution when buying in China, joining other essentials like weed, rice and beef jerky.
Police are continuing to search for the remaining imitation jellyfish floating around in Chinese markets. You might want to just err on the side and eat at KFC for the time being. If you are craving some jellyfish, then take a look at the picture below. Fake jellyfish is on the left; while the real thing is on the right.
[Images via Huzhou Police]