Marine Products and Heavy Metals

04/10/2011

          It has been reported lately that catches from some coastal waters of Guangdong province might have a high concentration of heavy metals due to marine pollution. Given that seafood has always been a favorite dish of consumers, the following information is provided to the public to give them a better understanding of the relation between marine products and heavy metals, especially the risk of eating raw oysters and other marine shellfish, as well as important things to take note of during purchase and handling of marine products.

 

Where does heavy metal in marine products come from?

Rapid social development and mass industrialization have caused pollutants generated from daily life and industrial wastewater to be poured in large quantity into the ocean, resulting in marine organisms, in general, suffering varying levels of pollution. Amongst marine products, shellfish are one of the most seriously polluted. They are filter-feeders, making them easily absorb the heavy metals in seawater during filtration, which will accumulate inside their body tissues, particularly the viscera.

 

Safety tips for the industry

1.      Buy marine products from reliable suppliers;

2.      Keep the inventory receipts for future references;

3.      Pay attention to announcements released by the government and other related agencies and take necessary actions as required.

 

Safety tips for the public

1.      Only buy marine products from reputable shops;

2.      Maintain a balanced diet. Do not consume excessive marine products and avoid eating just one kind of seafood so as to minimize risks involved;

3.      Eat less of viscera, fish skin, fish head and other parts with high fat content;

4.      Eat less large-size fish and deep sea fish (particularly carnivorous fish), as the longer is their life span, the more heavy metals will be accumulated in their body and the higher is their toxicity;

5.      Marine products should be put in storage containers prior to cooking and placed inside the refrigerator. In compliance with the principle of putting cooked food in the upper compartment of the refrigerator and raw food in the lower compartment, marine products should be placed below ready-to-eat and cooked food;

6.      Clean, wash and cook marine products thoroughly before consumption;

7.      If the public have doubts about the safety of marine products, they are advised to stop purchasing or consuming them.