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Turbot Fish farmers lawsuit disallowed

SHANGHAI - A Shanghai court refused to accept a lawsuit from fish breeders who claim huge losses since the local food and drug administration banned their turbot fish from being sold in the city, reports Li Xinran in the Shanghai Daily.

Huangpu District People's Court said in its verdict that it won't accept the petition because of a lack of jurisdiction.

Feng Zhao and Wang Yongqiang, two of the defendants' lawyers, said they were authorized to appeal to the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court.

It was reported that 365 turbot fish raisers in total, most of whom are from Shandong's Qingdao City, jointly filed the suit in the city last month against the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration over its food safety criteria for fishery products.

In late November, Shanghai's food safety watchdog issued a warning over turbot fish after small amounts of a cancer-causing antibiotic called AOZ was found in samples.

Some samples also contained other antibiotic residue, FDA officials said, adding that some fish farms use antibiotics to boost the low immune systems of the fish.

However, the levels were not high enough to cause cancer and only 0.3 percent of the recommended dosage when AOZ is used to treat diarrhea, experts said.

The decision caused "huge economic losses" to turbot raisers in Shandong, the biggest breeding base of the fish in China, according to an official of Qingdao Turbot Association surnamed Huang.

Huang said China has three food safety standards for fishery products and only the "export standard" requires zero antibiotics in fishery products.

The "export standard" is only used to pass some countries' "foreign trade barriers," Huang added.

"Antibiotics below certain levels can be found in many fishery products on the domestic market," Huang said.

According to China's administrative law, a court won't accept petitions against bans or orders issued by governmental agencies, which do not focus on specific people or activities.