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Food Safety Focus (91st Issue, February 2014) – Food Incident Highlight

PSP Toxins and Arsenic in Geoduck

In December 2013, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) detected through its routine Food Incident Surveillance System that Mainland China has banned the import of bivalves shellfish harvested from certain waters of the US because a shipment of geoduck from the US was found to contain paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins and arsenic exceeding the Mainland standards. The CFS immediately collected 12 geoduck samples from local retail outlets for testing of PSP toxins and arsenic. All results were satisfactory.

Separately, the local media tested seafood samples taken from the local market last month. While the geoduck samples were satisfactory, it was reported that two osmanthus mussel (sea cucumber intestine) samples were detected with high levels of arsenic. The CFS immediately took follow up samples for laboratory analysis. No unsatisfactory results were found. There was no cause of concern.

Members of the public are advised to maintain a balanced diet so as to avoid excessive exposure to contaminants from a small range of food items.