Welcome to FIS   Sponsored By
Subscribe to FIS | Register with FIS | Advertise with FIS | Newsletter | About FIS | Contact us
   


Watchdog finds excessive mercury levels in over 50 per cent of raw tuna samples

High mercury levels found in sashimi tuna

Click on the flag for more information about Hong Kong HONG KONG
Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 00:50 (GMT + 9)

The Consumer Council warns that a study has found high levels of mercury in fresh tuna and salmon sold in Hong Kong markets, sometimes above the legal limit.

According to Consumer Council tests on 50 sashimi samples, 49 (98 per cent) contained heavy metal, methylmercury (an organic compound of mercury), of which, 10 out of 19 sashimi tuna samples were found to contain methylmercury exceeding the statutory limit for mercury content in Hong Kong by up to nearly twofold.



Moreover, two samples – one of tuna and one of salmon – were found to have parasites, and the tuna sample also had worm eggs.  

Based on these findingns, the consumer watchdog calls on the public to seriously consider the health risk of consuming sashimi raw seafood and urges the authority to strictly enforce the laws related to food safety protection.

The tests included 19 tuna and 31 salmon sashimi samples, sourced from restaurants, supermarkets and takeaway outlets.  The tests focused on the authenticity of the fish species, and the presence of parasites, worm eggs, heavy metals and veterinary drug residues.

In the test for heavy metals, all 19 tuna samples were found to contain methylmercury, ranging in content from 0.31 to 1.48mg per kg.  

Sushi shop in HongKong

According to the Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination) Regulations, no solid food sold in Hong Kong should contain mercury at a level higher than 0.5ppm.

Ten of the 19 tuna samples were found to exceed the standard by 6 per cent to 196 per cent.  Except one sample, all of the 31 salmon samples were found to have methylmercury, ranging from 0.013 to 0.14mg, though none exceeded the limit.

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) recommends a provisional tolerable weekly intake of 1.6µg per kg of body weight.  So for example, a 60kg woman who is planning to get pregnant, the maximum recommended weekly intake is 96µg.  Based on the highest methylmercury content of 1.48µg among all the samples, each piece (assuming a weight of 12g) contains 17.8µg of methylmercury, so eating just six pieces of sashimi will exceed the upper limit.

The Consumer Councils highlights that mercury is harmful to the body’s nervous system, particularly the developing brain, so pregnant women, women planning to get pregnant and young children should avoid eating fish that may contain high methylmercury levels, particularly big or predatory fish species.  Although the human body naturally excretes methylmercury, it is a very slow process, so it may take over a year for a body to reduce its level substantially.  Women planning to get pregnant should therefore stop eating such food at least one year before becoming pregnant to avoid harming the foetus.

Methylmercury

Methylmercury is formed from inorganic mercury by the action of microbes that live in aquatic systems including lakes, rivers, wetlands, sediments, soils and the open ocean.Natural sources of mercury to the atmosphere include volcanoes, forest fires, volatization from the ocean and weathering of mercury-bearing rocks. ►

In addition to heavy metals, the parasite roundworm was found in one tuna and one salmon sample, and the tuna sample also had worm eggs.  But as the worms and worm eggs had been chemically treated and their presence was small, it was not possible to perform a test on their genes to determine conclusively their species or if the parasites were alive, since the roundworms found were not moving at the time of the test.

Consuming raw or undercooked marine fish may expose to the risk of Anisakis (a type of roundworm) infection, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting within 1 to 12 hours of ingestion.  If the small intestine is infected, an abdominal pain may occur within five to seven days after ingestion as well as other allergic reactions.

Differential symptoms of parasite infection by raw fish: Clonorchis sinensis (trematode/fluke), Anisakis (nematode/roundworm) and Diphyllobothrium ..

According to the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s Code of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products, fish served raw must first be treated with a specific freezing process (at -20 °C for sseven days or -35 °C for 20 hours) to kill the parasites, which has the same effect as cooking food thoroughly.  To preserve their quality, most sashimi seafood, especially tuna, is frozen. But consumers should note that freezing cannot kill viruses or bacteria, so any fish or shellfish that is not fully cooked or is eaten raw poses a high risk of infection due to Vibrio, Salmonella, Norovirus and Hepatitis A virus, etc.

The tests also assessed the authenticity of the fish species.  One of the 31 salmon samples was identified as a rainbow trout, and 30 were Atlantic salmon.  Though rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon belong to the same Salmonidae family, the former are fresh water fish, while the latter are marine fish.  The restaurant that sold the rainbow trout sample described it on the Chinese menu as “silver salmon”, a questionable description that does not correspond with the actual species.

In the case of the 19 tuna samples, all were found to belong to five tuna species: four yellowfin, five bigeye, four Atlantic bluefin, two Northern bluefin, and four Southern bluefin.  Bluefin tuna fetch a higher price than the others. According to information published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, bluefin tuna is one to two times more expensive than yellowfin and bigeye tuna.  In the tests, a sample with English description in the menu as “Bluefin Tuna” was found to be bigeye tuna.  The Council has referred the findings to the Customs and Excise Department for further assessment.

[email protected]
www.fis.com


 Print


Click to know how to advertise in FIS
MORE NEWS
Peru
May 24, 00:40 (GMT + 9):
Peruvian shrimp will arrive in Australia for the first time
Worldwide
May 23, 23:50 (GMT + 9):
International situation of fishmeal and fish oil (Norway, China, Peru, Weeks 19-21)
Canada
May 23, 22:30 (GMT + 9):
Oceana: Rebuilt northern cod fishery could provide 16 times more jobs and five times more economic value
Chile
May 23, 21:40 (GMT + 9):
Sernapesca initiated unprecedented certification of the pacific pomfret for artisanal fishermen
Peru
May 23, 21:20 (GMT + 9):
Produce set 450,000 tonnes of quota for giant squid (Dosidicus gigas)
France
May 23, 20:50 (GMT + 9):
Mowi to build a modern smokehouse in France
Norway
May 23, 12:40 (GMT + 9):
SalMar achieves highest ever first-quarter Operational EBIT and harvest volume
Iceland
May 22, 23:30 (GMT + 9):
Parliamentary committee proposes eliminating indefinite fish farming licences
Portugal
May 22, 23:20 (GMT + 9):
Portugal and Angola strengthen cooperation in fisheries, aquaculture and fish processing
Costa Rica
May 22, 22:50 (GMT + 9):
INCOPESCA will pay USD 5 million to six vessels to evaluate shrimp populations
Norway
May 22, 21:40 (GMT + 9):
Algae outbreak kills millions of farmed salmon
Spain
May 22, 21:30 (GMT + 9):
Central Government and Autonomous Communities analyze multi-year plan measures for the western Mediterranean
Spain
May 22, 20:00 (GMT + 9):
Eight purse seiners of Balfegó begin capture of 2,200 tons of bluefin tuna
Viet Nam
May 22, 19:50 (GMT + 9):
IN BRIEF - Ninh Thuận a boom town for quality shrimp fry production
United Kingdom
May 22, 19:00 (GMT + 9):
IN BRIEF - How salmon farming can scale up sustainably



Lenguaje
FEATURED EVENTS
  
TOP STORIES
The first quarter shows an increase in exports of Alaska pollock surimi from the US
United States At US Customs, the average price of Alaskan pollock surimi (Theragra chalcograma) (HS 0304991130) was USD 2.79/kg in March. This price is up 4% on that of February and 11% on that of January 2018. In ...
A special forum for research and innovation
Norway If you are interested in research and innovation for the aquaculture industry, Research Plaza is the place to visit at the Aqua Nor aquaculture exhibition in Trondheim in August. The Research Plaza i...
Approved the new protocol of the fishing agreement between the EU and Cape Verde
European Union The Council of European Affairs has approved the new protocol of the fisheries agreement between the EU and the Republic of Cape Verde, whose signing of provisional application by both parties is sche...
More improvisation with foreign trade measures
Argentina In an article published today,  Revista Puerto highlights an issue that is reoccurring and worrisome both for fishing companies, producers and exporters as well as foreign partners and importers ...
 
Maruha Nichiro Corporation
Nichirei Corporation - Headquarters
Pesquera El Golfo S.A.
Ventisqueros - Productos del Mar Ventisqueros S.A
Wärtsilä Corporation -Wartsila Group Headquarter-
ITOCHU Corporation -Headquarter-
BAADER - Nordischer Maschinenbau Rud. Baader GmbH+Co.KG (Head Office)
Inmarsat plc - Global Headquarters
Marks & Spencer
Tesco PLC (Supermarket) - Headquarters
Sea Harvest Corporation (PTY) Ltd. - Group Headquarters
I&J - Irvin & Johnson Holding Company (Pty) Ltd.
Blue Continent Products (Pty) Ltd - (Oceana Group Limited)
Pesquera San Jose S.A.
Nutreco N.V. - Head Office
CNFC China National Fisheries Corporation - Group Headquarters
W. van der Zwan & Zn. B.V.
SMMI - Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Co., Ltd. - Headquarters
Icicle Seafoods, Inc
Starkist Seafood Co. - Headquearters
Trident Seafoods Corp.
American Seafoods Group LLC - Head Office
Marel - Group Headquarters
SalMar ASA - Group Headquarters
Sajo Industries Co., Ltd
Hansung Enterprise Co.,Ltd.
BIM - Irish Sea Fisheries Board (An Bord Iascaigh Mhara)
CEFAS - Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science
COPEINCA ASA - Corporacion Pesquera Inca S.A.C.
Chun Cheng Fishery Enterprise Pte Ltd.
VASEP - Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters & Producers
Gomes da Costa
Furuno Electric Co., Ltd. (Headquarters)
NISSUI - Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd. - Group Headquarters
FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization - Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (Headquarter)
Hagoromo Foods Co., Ltd.
Koden Electronics Co., Ltd. (Headquarters)
A.P. Møller - Maersk A/S - Headquarters
BVQI - Bureau Veritas Quality International (Head Office)
UPS - United Parcel Service, Inc. - Headquarters
Hamburg Süd Group - (Headquearters)
Armadora Pereira S.A. - Group Headquarters
NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Headquarters)
Omega Protein Corporation
Marona S.A.
Mowi ASA (formerly Marine Harvest ASA) - Headquarters
Marubeni Europe Plc -UK-
Findus Ltd
Icom Inc. (Headquarter)
WWF Centroamerica
Oceana Group Limited
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Ajinomoto Co., Inc. - Headquarters
Friosur S.A. - Headquarters
Cargill, Incorporated - Global Headquarters
Benihana Inc.
Leardini Pescados Ltda
Mitsubishi Corporation Marine Products Depts. D.Team
CJ Corporation  - Group Headquarters
Greenpeace International - The Netherlands | Headquarters
David Suzuki Foundation
Fisheries and Oceans Canada -Communications Branch-
Mitsui & Co.,Ltd - Headquarters
NOREBO Group (former Ocean Trawlers Group)
Natori Co., Ltd.
Carrefour Supermarket - Headquarters
FedEx Corporation - Headquarters
AKBM - Aker BioMarine ASA
Seafood Choices Alliance -Headquarter-
Austevoll Seafood ASA
Walmart / Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Supermarket) -Headquarter-
New Japan Radio Co.Ltd (JRC) -Head Office-
Gulfstream JSC
INVE Group - Head Office
Marine Stewardship Council - MSC Worldwide Headquarters
Royal Dutch Shell plc (Headquarter)
Genki Sushi Co.,Ltd -Headquarter-
Iceland Pelagic ehf
AXA Assistance Argentina S.A.
Caterpillar Inc. - Headquarters
Tiger Brands Limited
Morpol ASA - Group Headquarters
SeaChoice
National Geographic Society
AmazonFresh, LLC - AmazonFresh

Copyright 1995 - 2019 Fish Info & Services Co.Ltd| All Rights Reserved.   DISCLAIMER