Wet market

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wet market
Jyutpinggaai1 si5
Literal meaningstreet market
Modern Asian wet markets are housed in buildings, though there are still numerous street-level wet markets throughout Asia.

A wet market is a market selling fresh meat, fish, produce, and other perishable goods as distinguished from "dry markets" which sell durable goods such as fabric and electronics.[1][2] Wet markets are common throughout the world.[3][4][5][6]

Wet markets containing live wild animals and wildlife products have been linked to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases including coronavirus disease 2019, but most wet markets are not wildlife markets.[4][6]


The "wet" in "wet market" refers to the constantly wet floors as a consequence of the spraying of fresh produce and cleaning of meat and seafood stalls.[7]

The term "wet market" originated from Hong Kong English and entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016.[8]


Wet markets are less dependent on imported goods than supermarkets due to their smaller volumes and lesser emphasis on consistency.[9]

Around the world

In China

Fowl cages at wet market in Shenzhen, China

The origin of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China.[10] Following the outbreak, proposals were made to ban the operation of wet markets selling wild animals for human consumption.[11][12] A few others have pointed out that most wet markets in China do not sell wild animals.[13][14][15]

The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was shut down on 1 January 2020. The Chinese government subsequently permanently banned the sale of wild animal products at wet markets the following month.[16][17]

In Hong Kong

In 1920, the Reclamation Street Market was opened in Hong Kong. Due to structure problems, Reclamation Street Market was removed by the government in 1953.[18] In 1957, Yau Ma Tei Street Market launched to replace the Reclamation Street Market.[19] There were fixed-pitch stalls which sold vegetables, fruits, seafood, beef, pork, and poultry. Also, there were stalls selling baby chickens, baby ducks, and three-striped box turtles as pets.[20]

Central Market was launched on 16 May 1842. Its position was central, on Queen's Road. In this market, people could find all kinds of meat, fruit and vegetables, poultry, salt fish, fresh fish, weighing rooms and money changers.[21]

In Hong Kong, wet markets are most frequented by older residents, those with lower incomes, and domestic helpers who serve approximately 10 percent of Hong Kong's residents.[22] Wet markets have become destinations for tourists to "see the real Hong Kong".[23] Many of the wet market buildings are owned by property investment firms and as a result the price of food can vary from market to market.[24]

In 1994, wet markets accounted for 70% of produce sales and 50% of meat sales in Hong Kong.[25]

In 2008 the government of Hong Kong proposed that all poultry should be slaughtered at central abattoirs to combat the spread of avian flu.[26]

Hong Kong's wet markets use red lampshades to make the food look fresher.[27]

In Mexico

Some traditional Mexican open-air markets called tianguis, such as the Mercado Margarita Maza de Juárez in Oaxaca, are separated into a wet market (zona húmeda) and a dry market (zona seca).[28]

In Singapore

In the early 1990s, the slaughter of animals was banned in 12 inner-city markets and 22 wet market centers in Singapore.[29]

In Thailand

Wet markets are the dominant preferred venue for grocery shopping in Thailand due to the local importance of fresh food.[30]

Hygiene of wildlife markets

If sanitation standards are not maintained, wet markets containing wildlife products can spread diseases. Because of the openness, newly introduced animals may come in direct contact with sales clerks, butchers, and customers. Insects such as flies have relatively easy access to the food products. Carcasses are sometimes thrown on the floor to be butchered. The avian flu and SARS outbreaks can be traced to keeping live animals in wet markets where the potential for zoonotic transmission is greatly increased.[31][32]

Wet markets where animals are traded in unsanitary conditions combined with the ability of viruses to undergo fast recombination were pointed out as a "time-bomb" as early as in 2007.[33]

Large numbers and varieties of these wild game mammals in overcrowded cages and the lack of biosecurity measures in wet markets allowed the jumping of this novel virus from animals to human. (...) Coronaviruses are well known to undergo genetic recombination, which may lead to new genotypes and outbreaks. The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb.

— VC Cheng, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Reemerging Infection

Amidst the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Chinese wet markets have been blamed for the outbreak.[34] Some reports say wildlife markets in other countries of Asia,[35][36][37] Africa,[38][39][40] and in general all over the world are also similarly prone to health risks.[41]


See also


  1. ^ Wholesale Markets: Planning and Design Manual (Fao Agricultural Services Bulletin) (No 90)
  2. ^ "wet, adj". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 29 March 2020. wet market n. South-East Asian a market for the sale of fresh meat, fish, and produce
  3. ^ Rahman, Khaleda (28 March 2020). "PETA LAUNCHES PETITION TO SHUT DOWN LIVE ANIMAL MARKETS THAT BREED DISEASES LIKE COVID-19". Newsweek. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b St. Cavendish, Christopher (11 March 2020). "No, China's fresh food markets did not cause coronavirus". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  5. ^ Reardon, Thomas; Timmer, C. Peter; Minten, Bart (31 July 2012). "Supermarket revolution in Asia and emerging development strategies to include small farmers". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109 (31): 12332–12337. doi:10.1073/pnas.1003160108. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 3412023. PMID 21135250.
  6. ^ a b "Why Wet Markets Are The Perfect Place To Spread Disease". Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  7. ^ Burton, Dawn (2008). Cross-Cultural Marketing: Theory, Practice and Relevance. Routledge. p. 146.
  8. ^ "East Asian words make it into Oxford English Dictionary". The Guardian. London. Agence France-Presse. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  9. ^ Agricultural Trade Highlights. Foreign Agricultural Service. 1994. p. 12.
  10. ^ "COVID-19: What we know so far about the 2019 novel coronavirus".
  11. ^ "Experts call for global ban on live animal markets, wildlife trade amidst coronavirus outbreak". CBC. 17 February 2020.
  12. ^ Sarah Boseley (24 January 2020), Calls for global ban on wild animal markets amid coronavirus outbreak, The Guardian
  13. ^ Bossons, Matthew (25 February 2020). "No, You Won't Find "Wild Animals" in Most of China's Wet Markets". RADII. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Commentary: No, China's fresh food markets did not cause coronavirus". Los Angeles Times. 11 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  15. ^ Lynteris, Christos; Fearnley, Lyle. "Why shutting down Chinese 'wet markets' could be a terrible mistake". The Conversation. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  16. ^ "China Could End the Global Trade in Wildlife". Sierra Club. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  17. ^ Aylin Woodward (25 February 2020), China just banned the trade and consumption of wild animals. Experts think the coronavirus jumped from live animals to people at a market., Business Insider
  18. ^ Bao Shaolin (2012). 第二屆廿一世紀華人地區歷史教育論文集 [Second Collection of Historical Education Papers on Chinese in the 21st Century] (in Chinese). Zhonghua Book Company (Hong Kong) Limited. p. 332.
  19. ^ "油麻地新建街市昨晨開幕後營業" [Yau Ma Tei New Market opened after opening yesterday morning]. Hong Kong Business Daily (in Chinese). 2 November 1957. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Yau Ma Tei's wet markets in the early post-war period". 29 March 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  21. ^ "The Friend Of China, and Hong Kong Gazette" (PDF). 12 May 1842. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  22. ^ "EmeraldInsight". Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  23. ^ Chong, Sei (18 March 2011). "A Guide to Hong Kong's Wet Markets". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  24. ^ Elmer W. Cagape (8 September 2011). "Tung Chung town pays the most for food in Hong Kong". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  25. ^ Agricultural Trade Highlights. Foreign Agricultural Service. 1994. p. 7.
  26. ^ "Central abattoir set for 2011". 13 June 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  27. ^ 超巨街市燈現身商場 [Super large wet market red lamps appears in shopping mall]. Sharp Daily (in Chinese). 14 September 2012. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  28. ^ "Central de Abasto: bomba de tiempo y nido de delincuencia". El Imparcial (Oaxaca). 9 May 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  29. ^ United States. Foreign Agricultural Service. Dairy, Livestock, and Poultry Division, United States. World Agricultural Outlook Board (1992). U.S. Trade and Prospects: Dairy, livestock, and poultry products. The Service. p. 3.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  30. ^ de Mooij, Marieke (2003). Consumer Behavior and Culture: Consequences for Global Marketing and Advertising. Chronicle Books. p. 295.
  31. ^ "New Coronavirus 'Won't Be the Last' Outbreak to Move from Animal to Human". Goats and Soda. NPR. 5 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  32. ^ "Calls for global ban on wild animal markets amid coronavirus outbreak". The Guardian. London. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  33. ^ Cheng, VC (October 2007). "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Reemerging Infection". Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 20(4): 660–94. doi:10.1128/CMR.00023-07.
  34. ^ Spinney, Laura (28 March 2020). "Is factory farming to blame for coronavirus?". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 30 March 2020. Most of the attention so far has been focused on the interface between humans and the intermediate host, with fingers of blame being pointed at Chinese wet markets and eating habits,...
  35. ^ "China Could End the Global Trade in Wildlife". Sierra Club. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  36. ^ "Coronavirus expert calls for shut down of Asia's wildlife markets". Nine News Australia. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  37. ^ "Don't Blame China. The Next Pandemic Could Come From Anywhere". Time. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  38. ^ "Africa Risks Virus Outbreak From Wildlife Trade". WildAid. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  39. ^ "A sea change in China's attitude towards wildlife exploitation may just save the planet". Daily Maverick. 2 March 2020. Knights hoped China would also play a role to help “countries around the world. It’s no good simply banning the trade in China. The same risks are very much out there in Asia as well as Africa.”
  40. ^ "Crackdown on wet markets and illegal wildlife trade could prevent the next pandemic". Mongabay India. 25 March 2020. ...what we do know is that wet markets such as Wuhan, and for that matter Agartala’s Golbazar or the thousands such that exist in Asia and Africa allow for easy transmission of viruses and other pathogens from animals to humans.
  41. ^ Mekelburg, Madlin. "Fact-check: Is Chinese culture to blame for the coronavirus?". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 30 March 2020.

External links

"Conservation (Environment), Wildlife (Environment), World news, China (News), Animal welfare (News), Food (impact of production on environment), Animals (News), Ethical and green living (Environment), Environment, Chinese food and drink, Asia Pacific (News)". The Guardian. London. 15 May 2009.

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