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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 21:49 GMT 22:49 UK
Sales of salmon leap after scare
Farmed salmon
Scotland's salmon farmers have welcomed the sales boost
More farmed salmon is being eaten in the UK, despite a health warning at the beginning of the year, it is claimed.

New figures suggest salmon was used in more than 86 million meals between March and May, compared to 72 million during the same period a year before.

The 20% increase in the use of farmed salmon was welcomed by the industry body, Scottish Quality Salmon (SQS).

US scientists warned in January that eating too much farmed fish could pose cancer risks.

Researchers advised people to eat no more than two ounces of Scottish farmed salmon every month because of chemicals levels found in fish.

SQS - which represents 65% of production in the country - accused the researchers of being "deliberately misleading".

British shoppers have shown themselves to be pretty sensible in evaluating this food scare
Brian Simpson
Scottish Quality Salmon

It described the alert issued by experts at Indiana University as "junk science".

The Food Standards Agency urged people to continue to eat the oily fish as it has many proven health benefits.

A new survey of 11,000 households suggests the scare did hit salmon consumption, but only by 1.8%.

Industry spokesman Brian Simpson said: "Despite a degree of media hysteria at the time, British shoppers have shown themselves to be pretty sensible in evaluating this food scare.

"They took the American study with the pinch of salt it deserved and relied on just about every other authority in the world to confirm that not only is Scottish farmed salmon safe to eat, it is both delicious and extremely good for you."

Trade barriers have been erected to protect the Scottish salmon industry from cheap imports.

The European Union introduced a tariff regime in August.

It followed claims that Norway has been flooding European markets with cut-price salmon, leaving Scottish salmon farmers struggling.

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