Ahi Additive Raises Questions - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Ahi Additive Raises Questions

Carol Cox of EviroWatch shows difference between fresh ahi and ahi treated with a carbon monoxide additive. Carol Cox of EviroWatch shows difference between fresh ahi and ahi treated with a carbon monoxide additive.

HONOLULU (KHNL)  An Oahu environmentalist filed a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday. Carol Cox wants the FDA to ban carbon monoxide treated fish because he says it poses severe health risks.

Most people who want fresh ahi, or big eye tuna will look at the color of the fish. The brighter the red, the fresher. Cox says ahi treated with carbon monixide has a watermelon hue. Seafood companies use the additive to keep the fish looking fresh. Retailers who sell fish products treated with carbon monoxide are required to label the product. But Cox says the labeling is misleading.

"C.O. treated what's that? Why not spell it out, carbon monoxide treated. If there is decay occuring, and its already aging, and the histamine are present how do we protect from that?" asked Cox during a dockside interview Friday. 

The State Department of Health says fish treated with carbon monoxide is relatively safe, but its aware the labeling is inconsistent.

"That is one of the concerns, or major controversies against using that type of thing. that's why the signage is there, that yes it has been treated with carbon monoxide," said Lynn Nakasone of the Department of Health's Food and Drug Branch.

So to the consumer, it's buyer beware.

"Would the public buy it if they knew it was treated? This is about masking the quality of a product, and not providing that information to the public," said Cox.

The Department of Health says if consumers are unsure if the fish they're buying is treated with carbon monoxide, they should ask questions. If its not labeled, you can call the Health Department.

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