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Food Alert - Three kinds of sword fish loin and steak imported from Vietnam containing excessive mercury

Issue Date

2014-09-11

Source of Information

Centre for Food Safety (CFS)

Food Product

sword fish loin and steak

Product name and Description

1) Product name: FCL Frozen Sword Fish Loin Skin On 160-230g
Importer: Family Care Ltd
Best before: November, 2014
Place of origin: Vietnam

2) Product name: FCL Frozen Sword Fish Loin Skin On skin-on 2kg-up
Importer: Family Care Ltd
Best before: February, 2016
Place of origin: Vietnam

3) Product name: FCL Frozen Sword Fish Steak 140-160g
Importer: Family Care Ltd
Best before: February, 2016
Place of origin: Vietnam

Reason For Issuing Alert

- Subsequent to the notification received from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed of the European Commission that a kind of skin-on frozen swordfish, a predatory fish, exported from Vietnam was found to contain mercury at a level exceeding the legal limit earlier this month, a sample from each of the abovementioned sword fish products from an importer was taken for testing during the investigation. Test results showed that they contained mercury at levels ranging from 0.82 parts per million (ppm) to 2.5 ppm, exceeding the legal limit of 0.5 ppm.

- Upon usual consumption, the reported level of mercury in the swordfish sample exported from Vietnam is unlikely to pose adverse health effects for the general public.

- Groups particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of mercury, such as pregnant women, women planning pregnancy and young children, should be more mindful.

Action Taken by the Centre for Food Safety

- The CFS has informed the importer concerned of the testing results.

- The importer has stopped sale of the affected batches of the products. The sword fish steak has not entered the market. The remaining stocks of the two kinds of sword fish loin as well as the sword fish steak have been marked and sealed.

- The CFS has also instructed the importer to recall the affected batches of the products from distributors, and will alert the trade to the incident.

- The CFS will liaise with the Vietnam authorities, continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up actions.


Advice to the Trade

- The trade which has the affected batches of the products should stop selling them.

Advice to Consumers

- Not to consume the affected batch of the product.

- Pregnant women, women planning pregnancy and young children should opt for fish that are smaller in size for consumption. To minimise the health risk posed to the foetus, infants and young children by excessive exposure to metal contaminants from food, they should avoid eating large-sized fish, predatory fish and other types of fish which may contain high levels of mercury (examples are tuna, alfonsino, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy and king mackerel).

- To avoid health risks posed by excessive intake of metallic contaminants, people are advised to maintain a balanced and varied diet. Moderate consumption of a variety of fish and fish products is recommended.


Further Information

The CFS press release

Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
2014-09-11

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