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Carcinogenic Crystal Violet in Chilean Salmon

CHILE - On the back of devastating reports of reoccurring Infectious Salmon Anemia, German health authorities have now detected banned chemicals in Chilean farmed salmon.

Germany’s Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, or BVL, recently tested 42 samples of Chilean-raised farmed salmon, reports The Patagonia Times.

The news agency saya that in two of those samples, BVL officials found traces of crystal violet, an anti-fungal chemical believed to have potentially carcinogenic properties. Crystal violet is not allowed in food exported to the European Union. BVL investigators also found traces of abamectina, an anti-parasite drug that is also banned in Germany.

News of the substance violation comes at a particularly difficult time for the Chilean farmed salmon industry, which is in the midst of a major slowdown due in large part to an ongoing outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA). A highly contagious virus, ISA can be lethal to salmon but does not affect humans or other fish.

The disease was first detected in Chilean waters in mid 2007. Since then it has spread throughout the crowded waters of Region X as well as into Region XI, affecting more than 100 fish farms. Chile’s ISA woes have led to major job cuts. SalmonChile, the industry’s private producers association, acknowledges that some 2,000 workers have been laid off. Union leaders insist twice that many jobs have been lost.