Store's dolphin was just a fish

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 September, 2010, 12:00am

It has already found itself in hot water with environmentalists for selling bluefin tuna. Last week, City'super looked as if it was wading into still worse trouble by selling dolphin meat.

Packets of a HK$27 Japanese product with an English label saying its ingredients included 'common dolphin' were spotted by the head of an environmental concern group in one of City'super's Hong Kong outlets.

Gary Stokes - who organised a Facebook campaign in March that saw City'super remove bluefin tuna from its fridges - has sent a sample of the Matsunoshita Kodawari Deep Fried Koban Fish Cakes for DNA testing at a Hong Kong laboratory.

However, City'super insisted the dolphin label was simply a case of ingredients being lost in translation when the sticker was put on the product before it was sent from Japan.

Spokeswoman Winnie Mak said the ingredient was in fact dolphin-fish, or mahi mahi or dorado, a tropical fish that is no relation to the dolphin. 'We have confirmed the ingredient is not dolphin,' she said.

To avoid controversy, all of the products were removed from the shelves of the four City'super outlets in Harbour City, ifc mall, Times Square and the New Town Plaza in Sha Tin last week and relabelled Mahi Mahi.

Stokes, who heads the Oceanic Love environmental campaign group, said he would go ahead with the DNA testing to make sure the ingredient was what City'super said.

'I have been in touch with the Centre for Food safety and they are looking into the matter and said they'd get back to me in a few days,' he said. 'If it is just a bad translation it should have been picked up.'

More than 150 people signed up for a Facebook group in March threatening to boycott City'super for selling critically endangered bluefin tuna. Sales were suspended.

Despite the apparent success of the campaign, bluefin tuna is not subject to any trade ban and was openly displayed by merchants at last week's Asian Seafood Expo at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.