Risks and critical issues related to the discovery on the market of unauthorized live alien species on the Italian territory: Chinese crab (Eriocheir sinensis)
Eriocheir sinensis, Chinese Crab or Chinese Mitten Crab is a catadromous species belonging to the Varunidae family, native to river and estuarine areas of North and South East China and Korea. At European level, E. sinensis is widespread in the main water basins of Central and Northern Europe and, since 2016, it has been included in the list of invasive species important for the European Union and subjected to confinement and eradication measures which include the prohibition of collection, transit and placing on the market of live specimens (Regulation (EC) N° 1143/2014). The Chinese Crab can represent a significant danger for the local ecosystem and for the native biota as well as contributing to the appearance of hydrogeological instability phenomena resulting from the intense excavation and erosion of the riverbanks.The first finding of 5 kg of live specimens of Eriocheir sinensis was recorded in the official control by the UFS (Functional Simple Unit) veterinary public health and food safety of the “ASL Toscana centro” at an ethnic catering establishment. The specimens were subjected to seizure, photographed, identified morphologically, and subjected to euthanasia and destruction in accordance with the European requirements for welfare and management of animal by-products.From the sanitary point of view, the dangers associated with the consumption of this crab are mainly biological and chemical therefore, risk communication is fundamental, not only at the level of the competent authorities in the sector, but also for the food business operators.
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