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Food Safety Focus ( 115th Issue, February 2016 ) – Food Incident Highlight

Heavy Metals in Dried Scallops

Recently, local media have expressed concern about heavy metal contamination of dried scallops due to environmental pollution.

Scallops can accumulate heavy metals (including arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, etc.) especially in the viscera due to their habitat and feeding behaviour. As dried scallops have undergone a process of drying, heavy metals would be concentrated further in the tissue. Nevertheless, dried scallops are made from the adductor muscles with viscera removed.

The Centre for Food Safety has been conducting routine surveillance for heavy metals in foods. In the past five years, 31 dried scallop samples have been taken for testing of various heavy metals. All results were satisfactory. Still, consumers are advised to patronise reliable shops when buying dried scallops and maintain a balanced diet to minimise the risk of exposure to heavy metals.