Food fraud: EU warns Italy to stop treating squid with hydrogen peroxide

Michael Ramsingh of Seafoodnews.com reports European trade officials have warned Italy to stop soaking its squid in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and shipping it to markets around the EU.

squid-fish-marketItalian officials were notified by the EU Commission’s Ministry of Health that soaking squid in H2O2 currently violates specific food safety regulations.  The practice is legal in the Italian market but is not approved in other member countries.

“The use of this substance as a food additive, therefore, is not authorized in the EU,” the Commission said in a statement. “The Member States have the responsibility to enforce effectively the Union legislation concerning the food chain, which also includes rules applicable to the use of food additives.”

H2O2 is used to treat squid to increase its marketability since it whitens the product on display. The treatment does not pose a health risk for consumers. However, the practice is considered dubious since it is nearly impossible to tell a treated squid product with a non-treated item, which makes it difficult to verify the actual freshness of the item.