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Food Safety Focus (154th Issue, May 2019) – Food Incident Highlight

Organotin Compounds in Aquatic Products Available in Local Markets

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety announced the results of a risk assessment study on organotin compounds (OTCs) in aquatic products.  About 340 samples of aquatic samples including fish, crustaceans and molluscs were taken at local markets for testing.

OTCs affect the immune system, cause endocrine disruption and have reproductive and developmental effects in animal studies.  They are used as wood preservatives, anti-fouling products on ships and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) stabilisers.  OTCs are relatively persistent in the environment and capable of bioaccumulating along the food chain.

About 60% of the samples taken in the study contained OTCs and fish was the major contributor to OTC dietary exposure.  However, the total OTC exposure of average and high consumers of the adult population was below the health-based guidance value.  The findings indicated that adverse health effects due to OTC exposure from aquatic products available on the local market are unlikely in the Hong Kong adult population.