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article imageLive crabs sold in Chinese vending machines

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 26, 2010 in Business
Nanjing - Commuters at underground stations in one area of China are now able to get something rather unusual from a vending machine – live crabs.
The machines can be found in Nanjing, the capital of the southeastern province of Jiangsu.
The crustaceans, known by the names Shanghai hairy crabs, Dazha hairy crabs, and Chinese mitten crabs, are packed in plastic containers and kept in machines set at a temperature of 5 – 10 Celsius, which causes them to go into a hibernation-like state.
The price depends on the size of the crab, which is available in small, medium and large.
If anyone gets a dead crab they can claim three free ones.
"The customers were a bit skeptical at first as they were worried if the crabs were alive or not," Wu Zhendi, who is the general manager of the Twin Lake Crab Co., told The Telegraph, "but now they see they are alive, they keep coming back. We are selling hundreds each day, and more at weekends."
Small bottles of vinegar are also sold in the machines.
The company said that using a vending machine means less staff is needed, resulting in a lower price for crabs.
They plan to expand the area where they are offering crabs, possibly as far as Japan.
In a separate story, UK Border Agency officials seized five live crabs which were found in the suitcase of a woman who had arrived in Belfast from China.
The individually wrapped crustaceans had been hidden amongst personal items in a suitcase. BBC News reported that they were handed over to the Department of Agriculture, but could not be saved.
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