The government yesterday moved to allay public fears after a
series of food-safety scares, the latest of which centred on turbot
fish that was found to contain excessive amounts of
Many major cities including Beijing have banned the sales of
turbot in markets and restaurants after Shanghai announced over the
weekend that it had detected excessive residues of nitrofuran and
chloromycetin in 30 samples of turbot. The fish are believed to
have been shipped from Shandong Province.
Some farmers reportedly fed the fish with large quantities of
medicinal supplements, which leave harmful, cancer-causing
residues, to increase their disease resistance.
The Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that it was drafting a
regulation to standardize food safety procedures under which
markets need to keep a record of the supply chain and ban
The Ministry of Agriculture and the State Food and Drug
Administration (SFDA) have set up a team to investigate the source
of contaminated turbot in Shandong. The SFDA has also ordered local
offices in such areas as Jiangsu, Hebei, Zhejiang, Fujian,
Guangdong, Liaoning, and Tianjin to closely monitor the
In Shandong, where the annual turbot output is estimated at
about 45,000 tons worth 3 billion yuan (US$375 million), an
official surnamed Fu told: "We are tracing the source of the fish
and will announce the result in a week."
The turbot is a flat fish typically served at banquets and
upscale restaurants and is popular with both Chinese and
foreigners. A serving costs between 70 yuan (US$8.75) and 150 yuan
(US$18.75) per 500 grams.
Last week, more than 5,000 ducks were culled in Hebei after it
was found that farmers fed them cancer-causing dye Sudan Red IV to
make the egg yolk a sought-after red.
(China Daily November 22, 2006)