Norway stresses salmon safety in face of China virus fears

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

Chinese media reports are wrong and Norwegian salmon poses no danger to the health of consumers, the Norwegian Seafood Council has stressed after the Asian country’s government announced an end to imports.

[We] would like to reassure the public that Norwegian salmon is safe and healthy to eat​,” the body said in a statement in response to concerns by Chinese authorities that a certain fish illness could affect Chinese aquaculture.

This, the group claimed, has subsequently translated into consumer health fears after some media wrongly reported the ISA virus could cross over to humans.

The reason was never due to food safety or concerns for the consumers​. There is no change in the safety or healthiness of Norwegian salmon​.” 

It stressed that the virus, which has been subject to recent media attention in China, only affected fish and could not be transferred to humans.

The whole media story about the new… regulations concerning the import of Norwegian salmon, [that it] was somehow due to food safety concerns, is based on misinterpretations and misunderstandings​.

Norwegian food safety authorities also state that only fish of superior quality can be exported from Norway. Fish showing signs of sickness are not allowed for export due to these strict quality regulations​.” 

Norway's monitoring and control systems are generally considered to be world-class, and although the country is not part of the European Union, the country’s food safety regulations have been harmonised with those of the bloc. 

In addition to corporate self-monitoring, authorities sampled some 11,500 salmon last year without detecting a single sample with findings of chemicals or contaminants above the safe limits​,” the council added.

Norwegian salmon is exported to more than 100 countries all over the world, and eaten by around 14m people each day. 

We, as the representative of the producers of Norwegian seafood, have to accept that there is a distance between Norway and China where misunderstandings like this can occur​.”

Related topics: Policy, Food safety, East Asia, China

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