Food Safety Focus (170th Issue, September 2020) – Food Incident Highlight
Be Cautious of Excessive Methylmercury in Fish
Recently, sample of imported prepackaged frozen green wrasse fillet was found to contain methylmercury exceeding the legal limit. Affected products were removed from shelves and recalled.
Methylmercury is a metallic contaminant in seafood. For many kinds of fish, the methylmercury levels are low. However, we should take note of some large or predatory fish such as sharks and swordfish which may contain higher levels of methylmercury. Excessive intake of methylmercury may affect our nervous system and hinder foetal brain development.
Fish contains many essential nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and high quality proteins. Consumers are advised to consume different kinds of fish. This helps to avoid excessive exposure to methylmercury from a limited range of food while obtaining essential nutrients. Expectant mothers, women planning for pregnancy and young children should minimise eating predatory fish. The trade should inform consumers of the fish types and the ingredients of fish products for sale.