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Last Updated: Monday, 12 January, 2004, 12:47 GMT
Salmon health scare 'ignored'
farmed salmon
Demand reported to remain strong for farmed salmon
Consumers seem to have ignored the latest health scare over Scottish farmed salmon.

There had been fears that shoppers would be put off buying salmon after a damning report last week.

Scientists had claimed salmon from Scottish fish farms is among the most contaminated in the world.

But initial figures from the major supermarkets suggest sales have actually continued to increase.

The study, published in the journal Science, said British farmed salmon is so full of pollutant chemicals it should only be eaten sparingly.

The scientists, from six research centres in the United States and Canada, found chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects in fish from supermarkets and wholesalers.

The pollutants are thought to come from processed feed used in fish farms, which is manufactured from fish caught at sea.

The UK's Food Standards Agency urged people to keep eating salmon despite the findings, released at the end of last week.

Sea waves
Chemicals found in the sea are being passed to farmed salmon
It pointed out that the dioxins and PCBs found in the study were within safety levels set by the World Health Organisation and European Commission.

Supermarkets, which have had the weekend to gauge the reaction of customers, said salmon sales had been generally unaffected.

Asda reported sales were up 20% on Friday and normal for the time of year over the weekend.

A spokeswoman said: "I wonder whether people are a bit immune to food scares."

Rival Sainsbury's said demand for all types of salmon were up 9% over the whole of last week, up to and including Saturday.

Tesco claimed sales were "in line with what you would expect for the time of year."

Only Marks & Spencer noticed a "slight fall" over the weekend, although it said there was no change on Friday.

Industry defends Scottish salmon
09 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Scare over farmed salmon safety
08 Jan 04  |  Health
Farm threat to wild salmon
20 Oct 03  |  Science/Nature

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