Hong Kong authorities said on Thursday that a fish sample from one of the city’s 113 accredited fish farms was found to contain mild amount of a carcinogen.
A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) declined to reveal the name of the farm, but said the department has contacted the farm keeper to trace the source of malachite green found in a sample, Apple Daily reported.
There has not been any sale of the contaminated fish in the market, the spokesman said.
According to AFCD, which has been regularly conducting tests on fish at local farms, the fish in question is hapalogenys nitens, known locally as Trout sweetlips, which are often imported from the mainland.
Legislator Kwok Ka-ki, who is a doctor by profession, said malachite green has been used by fishermen as germicide. If ingested in significant quantity, it can cause cancer among humans.
However, he pointed out that the cancer risk is there only if a person takes in high levels of the substance over a long period of time.
The public shouldn’t worry about the latest announcement by the government, Kwok said.
Tommy Hui Hon-man of the Hong Kong Kowloon and New Territories Freshwater Fish Wholesale Association said the chemical is very hard to get as it has been banned in Hong Kong and the mainland for many years.
The tainted fish might have come from China or elsewhere, he said.
Lai Tak-chuen, chairman of Ma Wan Fisheries Rights Association, said the contamination might have stemmed from residues in the sea or fish-transport equipment.
Under the law, those who use malachite green in food could be fined as much as HK$50,000 (US$6,450) and sentenced to six months in jail.
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