Wed, Aug 23, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Shark liver oil high in dioxins, foundation says

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A study released by the Environmental Quality Protection Foundation yesterday suggested that Squalene 99, a brand of shark liver oil imported from Canada, had been found to contain excess levels of dioxin, a toxic chemical.

Fish liver oil has become a popular nutritional supplement for children as well as adults in recent years, as it contains several different types of poly-unsaturated fatty acids -- a substance that can help reduce cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Starting in June, the foundation together with the National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) began tests on nine different brands of fish liver oil and evaluating the quantity of dioxin contained in them.

While the other eight sampled brands contained dioxin levels that fell within a range from 0.109 picograms (pg) to 1.08pg, the Squalene 99 shark liver oil was found to have 2.54pg of dioxin, slightly higher than the acceptable value set by the Department of Health (2pg).

The foundation's chairman, Liou Ming-lone (劉銘龍), said that long-term ingestion of high levels of dioxin can increase the risks of liver and skin cancer.

Liou said the study's results had been sent to the department and that it would carry out follow-up studies.

Hsiao Tung-ming (蕭東銘), chief of the department's food safety bureau, said the department, after receiving the study's results from the foundation, would initially ask for a freeze in the importation and sale of Squalene 99.

After conducting further tests the department would then decide if the product should be banned, he said.

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