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Something fishy! Government investigation finds bacteria & banned preservatives in Russia’s festive favourite – caviar

Something fishy! Government investigation finds bacteria & banned preservatives in Russia’s festive favourite – caviar
It’s traditionally eaten with a pearl spoon so that metal doesn’t taint its flavour, but this year, Russian caviar aficionados might be left with a bitter taste in their mouths for an entirely different reason.

Russia’s state quality control watchdog, Roskachestvo, issued a warning on Thursday after a survey of black sturgeon caviar on sale revealed a number of safety concerns.

Out of 14 Russian brands, and one each from Armenia and Belarus, only one tin of the luxury fish roe was found to pass muster. Authorities report detecting a raft of problems in the remaining cans, including the use of banned preservatives such as borax, which is outlawed in many countries over links to cancer. Other brands were found to have high levels of bacteria, or additives not listed on their ingredients.

Known as the country’s ‘black gold,’ sturgeon caviar is a national obsession for many Russians. On average, a small jar can be picked up for around $130, but ultra-indulgent versions can cost far more. So protective is the country of its fishy resource that people leaving Russia are prohibited from carrying more than 250 grams with them.

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The food safety warning comes at the worst possible time, given the delicacy is a festive favourite that tops off many dinner tables over the New Year period.

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