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Food Safety Focus (106th Issue, May 2015) – Food Incident Highlight

Dichlorvos in Salted Fish

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS), under its regular Food Surveillance Programme, found pesticide residues dichlorvos in two samples of loose-pack salted fish (thread fin). The CFS marked and sealed the remaining stock of the affected batch of the product; subsequently the traders concerned had it disposed of.

It is known that the process of sun-drying salted fish is prone to insect infestation and some traders may use pesticides during processing. Although a few food regulatory authorities have set maximum levels for certain pesticide residues in fish or aquatic products, none has been set for dichlorvos. Presence of dichlorvos in salted fish is regarded as abusive. Nevertheless, based on its levels detected in the two samples, adverse health effects are unlikely after usual consumption.

The CFS reminds the food trade to source food from reliable suppliers, and to ensure that their food is fit for consumption and meets legal requirements. The CFS also advises the public to maintain a balanced diet to minimise food risk, and limit the consumption of salted fish to reduce sodium intake.