Germany Detects Banned Chemicals in Chilean Salmon


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
October 21, 2008

German health officials recently detected banned chemicals in Chilean farmed salmon, according to a Chile-based environmental organization.

Traces of crystal violet, a potentially carcinogenic antifungal, were found in two samples, as well as a banned anti-parasitic drug called abamectina, says Ecoceanos of Santiago, Chile. The group claims that Chilean fish farmers use up to 300 times more antibiotics than their Norwegian counterparts.

"Once again salmon products coming from Chile are being scrutinized by consumers and by European commercial chains," said Juan Carlos Cárdenas, head of Ecoceanos. "This shows just how weak the system is for controlling the indiscriminate and/or illegal use of chemicals in food production."

The group says that Germany's Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety tested 42 samples of Chilean farmed salmon. The European Union does not allow imports of foods treated with crystal violet.

Chile's farmed salmon industry has struggled for more than a year to fight an outbreak of infectious salmon anemia (ISA), a highly contagious virus that can be lethal to salmon but does not affect humans. The disease, which in the past has harmed salmon farms in Norway and Canada, was first detected in Chile in the spring of 2007. ISA has caused millions of dollars in losses and a reported 2,000 lost jobs, according to SalmonChile, an association of farmed salmon companies.

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