Irish Examiner, 25 July 2013: Cancer–causing chemical found in fish

Cancer–causing chemical found in fish
Irish Examiner

By Clare O’Sullivan 25 July 2013


The Norwegian seafood giant seeking to build a €3.5m organic farm in Bantry Bay has been banned from exporting to the US after a banned cancer–causing chemical was found in fish from one of its South American farms. The discovery of the anti–fungal agent crystal violet led to the company’s imports from Chile to the US being seized and a ban [laced by the US Food and Drinks Agency (FDA) on further imports from Marine Harvest Chile. The presence of crystal violet in food is prohibited in the EU and US. A spokesman for Marine Harvest Ireland last night said the company has ‘never used crystal violet in any of its processes and is a highly regulated and certified organic salmon producer.’

It said it has undertaken a major investigation into its production chain and will release external laboratory results and traceability documents to the US authorities. Save Bantry Bay, which is fighting plans by Marine Harvest to develop a salmon farm at Trafrask, near Adrigole, West Cork, has called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to make a statement. ‘We are concerned that Ireland does not have the resources to undertake the testing that will ensure this food is safe. In turn, if industries are aware that regulators are not doing their jobs, there is a danger that they will take advantage of the lax regime’, said spokesman Tony Lowes. A Marine Harvest spokesman said its Chilean operation has a food safety process ‘which includes analysis of crystal violet residues or its metabolite, leuco – crystal violet at each farming site, previous to the harvest of fish.’ ‘A full 100% of the fish harvested did not present detection of crystal violet or leeuco–crystal violet residues’, he said. Marine Harvest has sent the FDA documentation about the official productive controls, carried out by the National Fishing Service and the internal productive controls.’

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