No matter what the outcome of investigations into the sale of incorrectly labelled oilfish by supermarkets and restaurants, or whether a criminal case will ensue, the government will always ultimately be responsible for the safety of food in Hong Kong. Authorities must do their utmost to correct the failure of the net of protection to ensure chances of a repeat are minimised. Whether oilfish should be banned from sale for eating, as Japan, Australia and Italy have done, is a matter that the government must look into; the more than 600 complaints received by authorities should be weighed up against the fact that eating the fish does not cause ill-effects to all who consume it. In light of recent food scares, there is the possibility that some have overreacted. Oilfish is not dangerous to health and instead causes discomfort to those whose digestion disagrees with its oily nature. Someone in the chain from importing the fish to making it available for consumers has capitalised on a lack of local knowledge about cod to turn a dishonest profit. Whoever is behind the scam has to be traced and punished. The government's food-labelling regulations are of international standard. Given the quantity imported and diversity of the markets it comes from, meeting such requirements may seem difficult for some companies, but every effort must be taken to comply. Consumers have a right to know what they are buying, and only with laws and government enforcement can that be protected. In the case of oilfish being passed off as cod, those controls have faltered at the enforcement stage. While it may not be possible for inspectors to continuously patrol every supermarket aisle, wet market and restaurant kitchen, there is a point where controls obviously need to be strengthened: where fish enters Hong Kong. When not in a supermarket freezer or on a dinner plate, there is no chance of oilfish being mistaken for cod. Through strengthening of regulations and ensuring that every food item and its ingredients are clearly marked, we will be able to shop and eat confidently. Those with food allergies, disorders like diabetes and particular preferences will be properly catered for. Above all, though, our health must not be jeopardised - and that has to be a government priority.