Oddly Enough

Fake crocodile can lead to tears

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong people hoping to cure their asthma through the age-old remedy of a dish of crocodile meat could instead come down with sore throats, constipation, nosebleeds and insomnia, a newspaper said Thursday.

This is because about two-thirds of the supposed crocodile meat on the market probably comes from other reptiles, the Standard said.

Hong Kong’s Consumer Council tested 24 samples of crocodile meat from dried seafood shops across the territory and found that 16 were fake, constituted instead from dried lizard or snake.

“It is difficult for ordinary people to differentiate between the meats of various reptiles. Consumers are advised to buy ... at reliable shops and get receipts that state clearly what they are buying,” Council chief executive Connie Lau was quoted by the Standard as saying.

Three people were arrested for selling fake products, the paper added.

While there have been no reports of people falling ill from eating the fake meat, the paper quoted Chinese medicine practitioner Julianna Chau as saying the consumption of snake meat could cause excessive “heaty” effects in certain people.

“Sore throats, constipation, nosebleeds and insomnia will result if those who eat snake meat are themselves heaty by nature,” the paper said.

Reporting by James Pomfret, editing by Nick Macfie