The Ministry of Health is conducting tests on seafood samples collected from the central provinces, which were affected by the Formosa toxic spill, to determine if they are safe for consumption.
According to Nguyễn Thanh Phong, director of the ministry’s Food Safety Department, the collection and testing of fish samples from the provinces of Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế are underway.
Tests are being conducted after Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình last week demanded clear information on the safety of consuming deep-sea seafood, after the toxic spill by Hưng Nghiệp Formosa’s steel plant in Hà Tĩnh in April last year.
Information from the ministry is expected to help the Government determine whether to lift the soft ban on catching deep-sea fish, which has impacted thousands of fishermen in the region for almost a year. If the tests are clear, it will reassure consumers and help resolve the problem of low sale of seafood in the region’s markets.
Two months after the Formosa environmental disaster, in June last year, the ministry announced that fish in the region’s ocean was safe for consumption. However, days later, it issued a list of 154 deep-sea fish that could not be consumed. Unable to distinguish between deep-sea fish and others species, people from the region stopped buying seafood.