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Food Safety Focus (47th Issue, June 2010) – Food for Thought


Scallops are very popular seafood items in Hong Kong . There are two main types, the fan scallop and fan shell. These scallops are filter-feeding bivalve molluscs. Scallops have been known to be associated with various types of hazards, mainly due to its ecological environment and feeding practice. Nonetheless, different cuisines and culinary practice can modify the level of risk associated with consumption of scallops. In most Western countries only the adductor muscle is traditionally consumed, while both viscera and flesh are eaten locally. The popular steamed scallop will give rise to condensed tasty liquid which makes the flesh, gonads and viscera all very tasty and delicious tempting the consumers to eat up all traces – including the hazards.

Significant Food Safety Concerns Advice to the Public

Shellfish Toxins

  • Shellfish toxins cannot be destroyed by cooking and usually are found at a higher concentration in the viscera as compared with the adductor muscles. The types of toxins contained may depend on the harvesting locations.
  • Purchase shellfish from reliable source.
  • Scrub and clean shells before cooking.
  • Remove viscera before cooking and discard any cooking liquid before consumption.
  • Cook thoroughly before consumption.
  • Avoid over-indulgence in shellfish consumption and maintain a balanced diet.

Heavy Metals, such as cadmium

  • Chronic exposure to cadmium would affect the kidney function.

Microbiological Contamination

  • Scallops can be contaminated by Vibrio parahaemolyticus , norovirus and hepatitis A virus during feeding.