Fish ban delayed despite finding of formaldehyde

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2006, 12:00am

Guangzhou food safety authorities are holding off on moves to ban sales of a fish known as Bombay duck, despite the discovery of high levels of formaldehyde in frozen batches of the popular hotpot ingredient.

Guangzhou's market authority tested 85 batches in spot checks yesterday at markets and found seven contained excessive amounts of the preservative.

The bureau did not disclose details about the fish contamination but said people should not be worried because the pass rate for the tested batches was quite high.

The bureau ordered inspections on Monday after reports that contaminated Bombay duck had been found last week in Yangjiang , Guangdong province. Guangzhou's Food Safety Office yesterday said no city-wide measures, such as a sales ban, would be taken at present.

He Liqing, manager of the Guangzhou Fish Market, the distribution centre for frozen fish in the city, said no Bombay duck had been available at her market for the past two days mainly because wholesalers feared a possible sales ban.

Ms He also said the market's quality inspections had uncovered formaldehyde-contaminated Bombay duck twice in the past two years.

She said the fish was not particularly popular in Guangzhou, with only about two tonnes sold each day.

Several restaurants selling the fish said they had taken it off the menu because they could not buy it anymore.