The Chinese food safety officials have banned the sale of turbot after they detected high levels of carcinogenic agents in fish at several of Beijing's fish markets, reports the Chinese media. The turbot fish was introduced by Cao Jilin from Europe in 1992.
Due to low resistance to diseases, the fish are fed on medicinal supplements, which sometime leave harmful, carcinogenic residues in their flesh.
Other cities, including Tianjin, Liaoning and Xi'an have started inspections after contaminated turbot was discovered by officials in Shanghai.
Food safety was given much priority in China after a series of incidents of food poisoning due to counterfeit products. Recent cases include parasite-infested snails in Beijing, steroid-tainted pork, ducks and hens that were fed cancer-causing Sudan dye to make their eggs red.
China had quality control watchdogs for every step in fish farming: from the production of fish feed, use of drugs, breeding, upto sales, according to Cao.
Last week, it was reported that China had killed around 5,000 ducks found to be fed with a cancer-causing dye to make eggs look redder and appear fresher. The eggs were banned from sale.
Forty people in Beijing contracted meningitis this August, on eating partially cooked snails at Sichuan restaurants.
Wang Yongqiang, the deputy director at the Seawater Fishery Institute in Shandong, said that there were'nt any strict market access rules for turbot and so even contaminated fish are not banned.
The State Food and Drug Administration has ordered local offices and authorities to be alert in coastal areas including Shandong, Jiangsu, Hebei, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Liaoning, and Tianjin.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the State Food and Drug Administration have appointed an inspection team to investigate fish farms in Weihai, Shandong.