More sprat woe for Latvian producers

  • 2007-07-27
  • By TBT staff and wire reports
VILNIUS - The Lithuanian State Food and Veterinary Service has banned sales of more than 8,000 cans of Latvian sprats after high levels of benzopyrene, a known carcinogen, were detected in the fish.

The batch of sprats were withdrawn from the Maxima supermarket chain after a customer complaint.

The Lithuanian State Food and Veterinary Service said that benzopyrene in the sprats produced by the Korall Plus company was more than seven times higher than acceptable legal maximum.

The president of the Latvian Fish Producers' Association, Didzis Smits, told BNS that Korall Plus is not a member of the association. He added that this is not the first time Korall Plus has encountered product quality problems.

The head of the board of Korall Plus Leons Stols said: "We will just stop exports to Lithuania," adding that exports to Lithuania were already being reduced even before the latest incident.

Sprats, traditionally one of the Latvia's major export commodities, have been a source of significant trouble in recent months. Russia banned imports of Latvian sprats last year on the basis that they contained high levels of carcinogens, removing the largest export market at a stroke. The industry has been trying to find new outlets elsewhere recently, and while Russia has partially lifted its boycott, the latest health scare does give some credence to Russian claims which were sometimes portrayed as being little short of economic warfare.