Asian Seafood Exports Treated With Carbon Monoxide

Almost 80 tons of tuna seized in Belgian fraud operation

FOOD SAFETY NEWS – Food safety officials in Belgium seized almost 80,000 tons of tuna in the course of a few months in 2020.

More than 90 percent of non-compliant products were imported from Asia.

Between September and December 2020, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) took 45 samples of fresh and frozen tuna from retailers and frozen tuna from wholesalers and carried out 92 types of analysis. In 2019, there were 17 samples analyzed and all were compliant.

For 2020 FASFC, also known as AFSCA or FAVV, uncovered the use of carbon monoxide treatment, a technique banned for tuna in Europe.

“China’s exports of canned tuna and tuna loins surpassed 100,000 metric tons for the first time as the country’s tuna packers offset a 10% decline in exports to the US by selling more to Spain, according to trade data… ” – Undercurrent News, March 2019 

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

Varieties of fish fraud

The objective of the operation was to detect the use and frequency of fraud techniques that are used to hide the spoilage of the fish going brown by passing it off as a fresher item that stays red.

Investigators looked at different techniques such as the addition of dyes, nitrites or nitrates and carbon monoxide treatment.

More than 35,000 tons of tuna was seized because of carbon monoxide treatment.

When a non-compliant batch was found measures included destruction or re-export and communication with the European Commission’s Food Fraud Network.

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

Five of six samples were found to have undergone carbon monoxide treatment.

Almost half of the 25 samples were non-compliant for nitrite or nitrate levels. Sixteen of 29 tests were non-compliant for amounts of ascorbic acid, which is limited to 300 milligrams per kilogram in EU regulations.

All 15 samples looking at histamine and total volatile base nitrogen were satisfactory. Consuming foods with high histamine levels poses a risk to health and it is not destroyed by cooking or freezing fish. Production of histamine is related to storage at incorrect temperatures. Histamine in fresh tuna from Sri Lanka was linked to the illness of two people in Belgium in August 2020.

Wider EU problem

Following the results, AFSCA included carbon monoxide in routine checks as part of its control plan in 2021 and stepped up inspections on imports of tuna from non-EU countries.

In 2020, the National Investigation Unit of FASFC handled nearly 800 cases related to fraud.

In 2016, the European Commission was told tuna for canning was being treated with vegetable extracts containing a high concentration of nitrites to alter fish color. In 2017, seven people were investigated as part of Operation Nuta. One year later, 79 people were arrested in Operation Tarantello and operations Atunali and ATYH 2 both saw four people investigated in the same year.

David Clarinval, federal minister of Agriculture and SME’s in Belgium, said the action illustrates the efforts made by FASFC to fight against all types of fraud to protect consumers.

“This protection comes through the hundreds of routine inspections carried out every day, and through checks on imported products.”

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

HEADLINE HEALTH has extensively covered problems with food safety on food from Asia:

Federal Warning On Illegally Imported Catfish

Food Poisoning Costs China $30B A Year: World Bank



- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


GMO Salmon Producers Find Giant Loophole In US Labeling Laws

Biotech company AquaBounty Technologies Inc. announced that it is harvesting several tons of genetically modified salmon, which will soon be sold at restaurants and other “away-from-home” dining retailers around the country where the federal GMO labeling law does not apply.

“Should I reschedule my mammogram if I recently received the COVID-19 vaccine?”

“The most important thing patients should understand is that there is no danger of breast cancer associated with the COVID-19 vaccine, and you should plan on getting your vaccines as soon as you are eligible.”

US Rep.: Biden Spends 22x More on Illegal Alien Childcare Vs. Americans

HEADLINE USA – Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, attacked President Joe Biden‘s administration for its reckless spending on care for illegal immigrant children while neglecting...

States Return Unwanted Vaccines To Federal Agencies

Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has slowed down so much that two states have given millions of doses back to the federal government, even though less than half of their total populations are vaccinated.

Scores Lose Jobs For Refusing Vaccine

Scores of workers at a Houston hospital system have been suspended and face being fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccination, a controversial company mandate that has drawn protests and an outcry from those facing termination.USA TODAY – Scores of workers at a Houston hospital system have been suspended and face being fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccination, a controversial company mandate that has drawn protests and an outcry from those facing termination.

Bought And Paid For: Big Pharma Doles Out Campaign Cash To 2,400 Legislators

WASHINGTON — State lawmakers in Oregon have tried to lower high drug prices from nearly every angle: They’ve sought to cap how much people can...

Only “Armageddon” Can Stop Tokyo Olympics Now: Officials

THE GUARDIAN – When the trickle of Olympic athletes arriving in Tokyo turns into a deluge next month, more than 11,000 competitors will find...

New Tech Could Doom Invasive Pythons

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have published a first-of-its-kind study that shows that near-infrared (NIR) spectrum cameras can help hunters more effectively track down these invasive snakes, especially at night.

Cal. Dems. Want $100 Million For ‘Health Equity’

KAISER HEALTH NEWS, SACRAMENTO — After the killing last year of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer, Wisconsin Gov....

Biden’s Plan To Give Free Vaccines To The World

MAWGAN PORTH, England (AP) — One year ago, the U.S. was the deadliest hotspot of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the cancellation of the Group...
- Advertisement -