A truck loaded with nearly 430 kilograms of injected prawns en route to a province-level city in southern Vietnam was detained by local police on Monday evening.
The giant tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon), stored in 16 styrofoam boxes, were being transported from Gia Rai District to Bac Lieu City in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu on a truck driven by Le Hoang Luyen, 32.
The suspicious vehicle was pulled over on National Route 1A in Hoa Binh Dictrict at around 7:00 pm on Monday by a team of local police, members of the seafood quality management authority, and inspectors from the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Quick tests were carried out on the prawns, witnessed by Le Ngoc Thuy, who owned the shipment.
Their results showed that the prawns had been injected with a jelly-like substance known as agar to improve the shellfish’s size, weight and visual appeal.
According to Luyen, the prawns would have been transported to traders in Bac Lieu City had they not been intercepted by police.
Food inspectors booked the case and confiscated all 426 kilograms of prawns as evidence and for further investigation.
Vietnam currently exports an average of US$3 billion worth of shrimp to foreign markets each year.
The country is looking to expand on its 700,000 hectares of shrimp farm land to reach a goal of $10 billion in shrimp export turnover by 2025.
Last month, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ‘declared war’ on the practice of injecting shrimp for export with gelatin in a move to improve the industry’s international image.