China Injects Crabs with Toxic Preservative Formalin-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Viral reports on social media have warned people to look for injection marks on crabs that are imported from China because they may have been injected with a highly toxic preservative called formalin.
Reports that crabs imported from China have been injected with formalin are false.
Formalin can be used as an embalming fluid to preserve animal specimens and tissue samples that are studied under microscopes. It can also be diluted and used as a disinfectant to kill parasites in fish. The FDA has approved three diluted forms of formalin for use in finned food fish and fish eggs, but crab is not listed among its approved uses.
The FDA approval means that these forms of formalin are “scientifically show to be safe and effective when used according to the directions on the label.”
However, there haven’t been any credible reports of crab imported from China being injected with toxic levels of formalin, as the social media posts claim. And photos that appear with these social media reports don’t show crabs being injected with formalin. They are from a December 2014 blog post that warns Malaysian consumers about crabs that have been injected with a solution to make them weigh more. According to a translated version of the blog post:
“Be careful when you buy crab at this time because there are reliable reports that there is a pinhole in the abdomen because the crabs have injected feared and pricked with water to preserve freshness and increase the weight of the crab.”
China is among the world’s largest producers of farm-raised fish. The FDA has challenged China’s seafood imports after finding carcinogens and antibiotics in them in the past. Still, warnings that crabs from China have been injected with formalin are unfounded.