THERE was no legislation controlling the use of sea water for the storage of live fish by restaurants or fishmongers, said the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien. But she was quick to point out that food sampling and tests were carried out to ensure food, including seafood, was fit for consumption. Addressing legislator Mr Steven Poon Kwok-lim's concerns about contaminated seafood, Mrs Wong said that live animals, including fish and birds, were not defined as food in law. ''Only after killing and processing does it become food intended for human consumption. At that point, common food controls apply.'' She said the two municipal services departments were responsible for the environmental hygiene aspect of keeping live fish in restaurants and markets. The departments had also taken steps to advise seafood restaurant operators and seafood sellers not to draw sea water from suspect sources for use in fish tanks. Under the general food surveillance programme, samples of food, including seafood, were taken from wholesale and retail outlets and import points for laboratory tests. Only a small percentage of food samples tested last year were found to be unsatisfactory in bacteriological testing and chemical analysis, she said. There were 14 prosecutions against food suppliers in the past 12 months. All were suppliers of pesticide-tainted vegetables. The Government has proposed the creation of an additional assistant director post in the Regional Services Department to deal with the increased volume and complexity of environmental hygiene work in the New Territories. The full salary cost, amounting to $804,000 a year, will be recovered from the Regional Council. The creation of an extra post is needed as the department intends to split its existing environmental hygiene division in two. One will deal with the delivery and management of environmental hygiene services in the nine districts under the council's control. The other will assume responsibility for policy matters like hawking, markets and licensing.