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Jovy Chan, Senior Ocean Sustainability Officer for WWF-Hong Kong. (Photo: WWF)

Banned chemicals found in seafood sold at supermarkets

  (HONG KONG, 8/18/2018)

A study conducted by WWF-Hong Kong on seafood products sold at local supermarkets has revealed the presence of banned chemicals exceeding 2.5 times over international food safety limits.

To reach this conclusion, the environmental organisation conducted testing on seafood samples -- from species like basa fish (Pangasius species), Mandarin fish (Siniperca chuatsi), and Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) -- collected at local supermarkets from June to early August 2018.

According to WWF, the worst performance comes from A.S. Watson, CR Vanguard and Kai Bo, having taken minimal actions to improve their seafood sustainability. Therefore, the NGO urges the supermarket groups to take immediate action to set up a holistic seafood procurement policy to ensure seafood have no potentially harmful substances and are sourced sustainably.

“It is unacceptable that supermarkets are selling seafood that is tainted with chemicals, especially as this is a repeated offence by the supermarket brands. This not only potentially violates the Harmful Substances in Food Regulations but poses a risk to consumers’ health,” points out Jovy Chan, Senior Ocean Sustainability Officer for WWF-Hong Kong.

The NGO outlined that the chemical tests conducted in laboratory found that five samples bought from Taste, ParknShop, Superstore and Fusion, all under A.S. Watson, contain potential carcinogenic chemical malachite green (MG) and leucomalachite green (LMG), which is one of the major metabolites of MG persisting in fish tissue for an extended period of time.

In addition, it adds that one of the Mandarin fish sample bought from Taste contains 7.18μg/kg LMG, which is more than 2.5 times over the European Union (EU) food safety standards.

Also LMG was identified in two Mandarin fish samples and one Japanese eel sample. The use of MG and LMG on fish for human consumption is totally banned in Hong Kong.

Another Mandarin fish sample bought from ParknShop contained nitrofurans, which may be carcinogenic and are banned in several places including the US and the EU.

“WWF has been actively engaging with the nine major supermarket groups since 2016 to make sustainable seafood more accessible. Six supermarket groups comprising AEON, City Super, 759, Dairy Farm, YATA and DCH are on the track to improve their seafood sustainability and put in place key elements of a sustainable seafood procurement policy,” Chan states.

All in all, WWF-Hong Kong has launched a supermarket campaign in August 2018 and invites consumers to join them and help putting pressure on A.S. Watson, CR Vanguard and Kai Bo to ask them to do more to improve seafood sustainability.
 


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