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  Today Online 29 Dec 05
Norwegian salmon safe: AVA

Today Online 28 Dec 05
Is Norwegian salmon safe to eat?
Tan Hui Leng

PlanetArk 21 Dec 05
Russia to Ban Norwegian Salmon from January 1
Story by James Kilner and Aleksandras Budrys

OSLO / MOSCOW - Russia will ban all fresh Norwegian salmon imports from Jan. 1 2006 because its vets say they have found dangerously high levels of lead and cadmium in the fish and Norway's monitoring system is not adequate.

Norway disputes the claims but failed on Tuesday at a meeting in Moscow to dissuade Russia from extending a partial ban it imposed earlier this month to all fresh salmon imports, Sergei Dankvert, Russia's chief animal and plant safety officer said. "We are not happy with the Norwegian system of monitoring heavy metal content in their products," he told Reuters. "We are now checking other Norwegian fish products and if we are not satisfied we will ban all fish imports from Norway including frozen fish." Russia imposed a temporary ban on fish from four Norwegian farms this month.

Norway is the world's biggest producer of salmon, and fish is the Nordic country's third most valuable export after energy and metals.

Now Russia, which has a growing appetite for fresh salmon and has imported 60 percent more so far this year than last year from Norway, says it has found such high levels of the metals cadmium and lead that it would turn the fish into poison.

Norway says it monitors the fish, which can absorb the metals from fish feed used by farms, and has invited Russian vets to inspect its farms. But they have not so far accepted, Ingellis Jacobsen, Norway's seafood marketing manger in Russia, said. "The Norwegian authorities are still trying to get the Russian inspectors to Norway as quickly as possible so they can see for themselves and lift any ban," she said.

She said Russian inspectors should arrive in Norway during the first few months of next year.

Shares in Norwegian fish farmers fell to around one month lows on the news before recovering slightly. Pan Fish closed at 2.06 Norwegian crowns, down 1.4 percent, Fjord Seafood closed at 4.33 crowns, a 3.1 percent fall, and Cermaq closed at 52.50 crowns, down 1.4 percent.

Today Online 28 Dec 05
Is Norwegian salmon safe to eat?
Tan Hui Leng

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is initiating tests to check for heavy metals in imported Norwegian salmon.

The move follows reports of a Russian ban on the fish from Jan 1 next year, due to "dangerously high levels of lead and cadmium" having been found in them.

In the past, the AVA did not check for heavy metals in salmon, focussing as it did on "higher-risk items" such as pathogens, contaminants and residues.

"In monitoring food safety hazards, AVA employs a wide range of surveillance programme," said the AVA. "Import consignments are subjected to thorough and systematic inspection and laboratory monitoring for pathogens, contaminants and residues, to ensure the salmon is safe for consumption."

The AVA told Today the Norwegian salmon available in Singapore is safe for consumption.

With reports of the Russia ban, however, the AVA is playing it safer and is starting tests for heavy metals on the fish.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Food Inspectorate has refuted Russia's claims, saying they have found no basis for them. It offered to carry out a joint inspection of Norwegian salmon production. Last year, Singapore imported 197 tonnes of salmon from Norway, which is 76.8 per cent of all salmon imports here.

And even if the tests for heavy metals prove negative, AVA said it would continue the checks on Norwegian salmon.

In August this year, AVA had ordered a recall of eels from China when low levels of malachite green were found in samples. The chemical has been shown to be carcinogenic in rats.

Today Online 29 Dec 05
Norwegian salmon safe: AVA
Tan hui leng

It's safe to eat Norwegian salmon, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) yesterday, after the fish tested negative for heavy metals.

The AVA conducted tests on the fish after Russia banned it from Jan 1 next year because of "dangerously high levels of lead and cadmium".Norwegian salmon forms the bulk of salmon imports into Singapore last year, at 197 tonnes every month.

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