Salmon processing. (Photo: Marine Harvest)
Sernapesca starts salmon contamination investigation
Monday, July 22, 2013, 00:10 (GMT + 9)
The National Fisheries and Aquaculture (Sernapesca) has initiated an investigation to clarify the information provided by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the possible detection of the chemical compound crystal violet in a batch of Chilean salmon exported to that market.
"Since yesterday [Thursday] we have been requesting all the relevant background of the case to the FDA, and so far there has been no formal notification as to this information," said the national director of Sernapesca, Juan Luis Ansoleaga Bengoechea.
"Once the questioned batch is determined by the US health authority, the traceability can be established to determine which plant was processing the salmon, as well as the centre and even the cage where it was grown and harvested," the official added.
The FDA cancelled the import of fresh and frozen salmon produced in Chile by the Norwegian multinational firm Marine Harvest after finding – on 5 June -- traces of crystal violet in a batch of salmon from that company.
The crystal violet is an antifungal product that is prohibited in Chile and the US due to its carcinogenic effects.
Sernapesca also informed it is collecting data on the suspected company.
"We know that the company began an internal investigation of the entire production chain, and we are asking for all the necessary background that would enable us to carry out a proper investigation," pointed out Ansoleaga Bengoechea.
"Even when the US market does not require a health certificate granted by Sernapesca, given such findings we once more verify all the production chain in order to prevent the same situation from occurring in countries where the certification" of the Service "is a mandatory requirement, such as Brazil, Russia or the European Union," he added.
In March 2007, Sernapesca incorporated the control of crystal violet and its metabolite (leuco crystal violet) in the Drug and Prohibited Substances Residues Control Programme.
Currently, this control is carried out in two stages:
- An official monthly sampling in processing plants with the Quality Assurance Programme (QAP);
- An official annual sampling of all the fish farming centres with (fattening and fish farms).
The official sampling involves taking samples in the presence of an official from Sernapesca.
The samples are sealed and sent for analysis to the laboratory of Veterinary Pharmacology of the University of Chile (Farmavet), which is the official verification laboratory of Sernapesca.
- US stops Chilean salmon imports after finding contaminants
By Analia Murias
Photo Courtesy of FIS Member MOWI Chile S.A. (previamente Marine Harvest Chile)