June 23, 2016 – Kai Bo Food Supermarket outlets have been ordered to halt sales of a batch of black cod steak immediately following the detection of mercury, at a level exceeding the legal limit in a sample.
The Centre for Food Safety said a sample of black cod steak was collected from Kai Bo Food Supermarket in Kowloon City, for routine testing. The test result showed that the sample contained mercury at a level of 1.1 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the legal limit of 0.5 ppm.
“Mercury may affect the nervous system, particularly the developing brain. At high levels, mercury can affect foetal brain development and affect vision, hearing, muscle co-ordination and memory in adults. Furthermore, as some international organisations such as the World Health Organization have pointed out, consuming predatory fish species is the main source of mercury intake for human beings. The report of the CFS’ Total Diet Study also pointed out that large or predatory fish species may contain high mercury levels (for example, tuna, alfonsino, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy and king mackerel).
Hence, groups particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of mercury, such as pregnant women, women planning pregnancy and young children, should opt for fish that are smaller in size for consumption and avoid consumption of the above-mentioned types of fish which may contain high mercury levels to minimise the health risk posed to the foetus, infants and young children by excessive exposure to metal contaminants in food,” he added.
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The CFS has informed the vendor concerned of the irregularity. Should there be sufficient evidence, prosecution will be instituted. The vendor has stopped selling the affected batch of the product according to the instructions of the CFS. The CFS will alert the trade to the incident and trace the source and distribution of the affected product.
According to the Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination) Regulations (Cap 132V), any person who sells food with metallic contamination above the legal limit may be prosecuted and is liable upon conviction to a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.