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Food Safety Focus (168th Issue, July 2020) – Food Incident Highlight

High Levels of Mercury Found in Shark Fin Trimmings

A recent study reported that high levels of mercury were detected in samples of dried shark fin trimmings collected in both Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Sharks are large predatory species and can naturally accumulate mercury up the food chain. When people eat predatory fish, the mercury that enters the bodies can affect the nervous system, especially the developing brain of fetuses and infants.

From 2018 to June 2020, the Centre for Food Safety collected 15 samples of shark fins from the market for mercury analysis. The results of all samples were satisfactory.

Many local restaurants have adopted a more environmentally-conscious approach to replacing shark fins with other dishes. Consumers can be environmentally-friendly by reducing the intake of shark fin while at the same time maintaining a balanced diet in order to reap the benefits of fish consumption and reduce the risk of mercury exposure from diet.