Improvement needed after official investigation of Shanghai wet markets

The water content of seafood and the weight of bags, plus unmatched price tags and absent "fair scales" are some of the problems found at wet markets across the city.

The water content of seafood and the weight of bags, plus unmatched price tags and absent "fair scales" are some of the problems found at wet markets across the city during undercover investigations by the Shanghai Consumer Council, officials said on Monday while calling for improvement.

The investigation covered 28 wet markets in 10 districts with 140 samples purchased. Overall, 36 percent of consumers said they were not satisfied with wet markets and that management should be strengthened.

It is a common complaint among residents that heavy bags are used for seafood and that there is often too much water left in the bags, Huang Zidong, an official with the council said.

Officials bought 28 shrimp samples weighing about 300 grams on average, and found the average water content was 8.8 grams.

The council also compared the weight of bags and found the average weight to be 11.76 grams.

The heaviest bag came from Beixinjing wet market and weighed 29 grams, while the lightest came in at just 4 grams with shrimp bought at Yangpu Anshan wet market in Yangpu District.

A total of 14 percent of consumers said they were most unsatisfied that there were no "fair scales" at some wet markets, which would allow buyers to check the weight of food they purchase and pay the correct price if there is found to be a discrepancy.

Investigations found that three among the 28 wet markets did not have "fair scales," which were the Liyuan outlet of Huixuan market in Huangpu District, the Boxing outlet of Zhengyu Shengxian wet market in the Pudong New Area, and the Zhonghai wet market of Shengzheng Dushi supermarket in Jing’an District.

Among those that have fair scales, the scale at Shuangliao wet market in Yangpu District was placed inside a locked room, while the scale at Gao'an wet market in Xuhui District was not plugged in, officials found.

Among the 140 samples tested, 14 were found to have unmatched price tags when compared with real prices charged, with the Pudong Avenue wet market in the Pudong New Area and Leshan wet market in Xuhui District among those criticized.

"Consumers told us that the price tags of some food was not changed in more than a year," Huang said.

Tang Jiansheng, deputy secretary-general of the council, said although there is no standard to regulate wet markets so far, vendors should ensure the use of correct price tags and control the amount of water in seafood sold.

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