On 22 May, National Geographic reported that, concerned about what might happen if a Chinese delicacy overruns the wild, officials ramp up investigations to halt imports. The crabs were being imported by Asian markets and food suppliers to be sold in cities in the US. It says that mitten crabs prey on local wildlife, they tunnel into the soft mud along riverbanks, triggering erosion; and they also pose a health threat – eaten raw or lightly cooked, they can transmit a parasite that attacks human lungs. It says that in China a giant hairy crab-shaped museum exists, and that live mitten crabs have even been sold from refrigerated vending machines. A startling photo shows part of the outcome of Operation Hidden Mitten, a joint investigation by the Fish and Wildlife Service and US Customs and Border Protection, seized nearly 15,000 live Chinese mitten crabs at multiple ports in Autumn 2019.
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