By Kyle McCormick
Pretty cool article showing how counterfeit products don’t stop at phony video game consoles or even expensive art, but goes as far as what ends up on your plate! The Yangcheng Lake Hairy Crab is considered a delicacy in China; it’s known for having a sweet taste that comes from the lake it is raised in. However, it is also considered to be a crab that is easily mimicked. Crabs from different areas are placed into the lake and reared there for months at a time and then shipped as “hairy crabs.” It has become such a problem that local farmers have used laser etching and plastic tags to prove that their product is the real deal, and even then it’s still hard to come by an authentic hairy crab! The production of fake hairy crabs has really hit those who harvest the authentic ones by driving the price of the crab down. It’s local farmers who rear the crabs, not large scale hatcheries, so when the price goes down it is felt by individual families instead of companies. One source for why there is such an influx of false hairy crabs is due to the boom in the Chinese economy over the years. The farmers couldn’t keep up with the increasing demand of the succulent arthropods so a market for the fake ones was born. Not only that, but human impact on the crab’s natural habitat has led to the importing of crabs from elsewhere and having them raised in the lake! The article ends by defining what “authentic” means when it comes to these hairy crabs. In reality, almost no crabs are born in the lake. The only requirement for an authentic Yangcheng Lake crab is for said crab to be raised in the lake for 6 months before harvest. The ambiguity of this definition leaves plenty of room for vendors to falsify their product.