( dpa )- Taiwan police are trying to trace six tons of fake sea cucumber which are being sold in Taiwan stores at high prices because sea cucumber is a Chinese delicacy, a newspaper said on Sunday.
The Liberty Times said that the Bureau of Criminal Investigation has arrested three seafood merchants who had sold 7.2 tons of fake sea cucumber to stores and markets across Taiwan.
The bureau's agents located 1.2 tons of the false product at the RT-Mart hypermarket, and was searching for the remaining six tons.
Of the three men arrested, Chen San-chih is charged with making and selling fake sea cucumber at 350 Taiwan dollars (10 US dollars) per kilogram to Huang Shih-yang and his brother Huang Shih-fu.
The Huang brothers sold the product to stores and supermarkets at 500 Taiwan dollars (15 US dollars) per kilo, and the stores and supermarkets sold them as real sea cucumber to customers at 700 Taiwan dollars (20 US dollars) per kilo.
Genuine sea cucumber is considered to be full of nutrition and is a delicacy at Chinese banquets. But Chen used konjac jelly - which is often used to make jelly candies - to make fake sea cucumber, police said.
The fake product is not harmful to health but has no nutrition.
The scandal first came to light on February 7 when the Taiwan Consumers' Foundation received a tip from a disgruntled consumer and publicly denounced the sale of fake sea cucumbers at the RT-Mart.
Store management said it was unaware the sea cucumber was fake. It apologized to the public and took the product off the shelves.