Italy and Japan have
banned the sale of Escolar due to its potential side
effects. It has been banned from consumption in Japan since
1977, as the Japanese government considers it toxic. In
1999, the Swedish and Danish national food administrations
informed fish trade associations and fish importing
companies about the problems Escolar and related fish could
cause if not prepared properly and issued recommendations.
In early 2007, after a
public outcry, receiving consumer complaints about
mislabeled fish and conducting an investigation, the Hong
Kong government's Centre for Food Safety recommended Escolar
not be used for catering purposes, advised clear labeling
and identification of fish species before sale, and purchase
of fish from reliable sources, and recommended consumers
become aware of the possible health effects of consumption
of Escolar, Oilfish, and related species. The Hong Kong
government has established a working group composed of
members of the academia, trade and consumer group to prepare
guidelines for assisting the trade and consumers in
identifying relevant species of fish.
In the United States, the
FDA, after receiving
complaints about diarrhea associated with Escolar
consumption, issued a bulletin recommending against import
of the fish in the early 1990s. However, the FDA backed away
from this recommendation and withdrew the bulletin several
years later after deciding the fish was nontoxic and
nonlethal. Currently, the FDA informally recommends,
"Escolar should not be marketed in interstate commerce."
In mid-2007, the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency, after investigating cases of
diarrhea caused by mislabeled fish, decided not to ban
Escolar or Oilfish, but instead issued a fact sheet noting
the potential adverse effects of consumption and
recommending consumers speak with their retailer, verify
fish species and consume the fish in small portion sizes
using preparation methods that reduce oil content.
Representative James Tokioka introduced a bill aimed at
banning the catch, sale or possession of Escolar.