Supermarkets have taken two brands of tinned fried dace with salted black bean off shelves after the banned substance malachite green was found in samples of the fish on Saturday.

tinned dace fish
The affected brand of tinned fried dace with salted black bean.

The Centre of Food Safety (CFS) found traces of malachite green in Yupin and Pearl River Bridge brands of canned fried dace after drawing samples from various supermarkets. “The CFS collected six samples of fresh dace and three tinned fried dace samples from different local retail outlets for analysis. Malachite green was found in two samples of tinned fried dace of different brands taken from Wellcome Supermarkets at North Point and Sai Wan,” said a CFS spokesman on Saturday.

Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said that although the samples only contained minor traces of malachite green, it was still illegal as there is zero tolerance of the substance under the law, local media reported. The Food and Health Bureau had asked for a halt of the sale of these products immediately and said that the Centre will draw more samples.

Tinned dace fish
Pearl River Bridge’s tinned dace fish.

The use of malachite green, a type of industrial dye, in food fish has been banned in most major agricultural economies. Under the Harmful Substances in Food Regulations, offenders who sell food containing malachite green in Hong Kong may be liable to a fine of $50,000 and six months imprisonment.

Wellcome said that food safety was priority and that the supermarket had received instructions from the Centre of Food Safety to take all relevant products off the shelves. It also said that customers could exchange or have a refund for the affected products on production of receipts.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.