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Week in Review: Listeria mystery, slavery in soy, land-based boom, Chile's 'new' region

Our weekly round-up of all the best stories from IntraFish.

It was another busy week in the world of seafood news and, as always, IntraFish journalists were at the forefront of all the industry's biggest stories.

News coming out of Brazil during the week regarding allegations of slave labor, violent land conflicts and illegal deforestation within the country’s soy industry inevitably provoked strong reactions from the "Big Three" fish feed suppliers BioMar, Skretting and Cargill – who could unwittingly be linked to the scandal.

BioMar CEO told IntraFish that if the claims prove true the company will act on it, while Skretting’s MD in Norway said the accusations are “unacceptable” if true. Meanwhile, Cargill threatened "swift action" against any rogue feed suppliers.

Also last week, Brazil elected a controversial new president, IntraFish Correspondent John Evans discovered the country’s seafood industry actually welcomed his pro-business policies.

In Europe, food safety watchdogs linked several Listeria monocytogenes (listeria) cases over the past few years in Denmark, France and Germany -- some of which resulted in death -- to an unnamed Polish salmon processor after genetic testing discovered a single strain was responsible for the outbreak.

Over in the United States, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) held its “All-Hands on Deck” meeting last week where the region’s marketing arm addressed topics such as China tariffs, RFM and more.

Reporter Rachel Sapin uncovered ASMI's talks with Norway and Iceland to create an international RFM program.

Executive Editor John Fiorillo went to town on the damage caused by sketchy fisheries science in a column entitled “A retraction is not enough,” a viewpoint which was lauded and seconded in a letter from Jim Gilmore, director of public affairs at the At-sea Processors Association.

Russian Fishery announced ambitious plans over the week to shift to value-added pollock production for all its catch, while we confirmed an earlier deal in October which saw Dutch pelagic group W. Van der Zwan acquire a majority stake in flatfish company Ekofish.

Senior Reporter Lola Navarro asked whether the region of Magallanes represents a fresh start for Chile's salmon industry, and reported how Pharmaq's new SRS vaccine is already showing signs of significantly reducing mortalities.

Also from her recent trip to Chile, Lola posted a video of a speech by industry veteran Vigo Hugo Puchi who talked of success, challenges and milestones over the past 30 years in the Chilean salmon sector.

Once again, land-based salmon was a recurring theme over the week. Reporter Anders Furuset wrote how Norway could produce more than 10 percent of its farmed salmon on land in the future and listed the companies who could make that happen.

Along similar lines, Online Editor Dominic Welling spoke with a private equity fund with ambitious plans to establish a global network of land-based salmon farms, with the ultimate goal of producing 260,000 metric tons per year.

The week also saw Minh Phu, Monterey Bay, and others make an “aggressive” commitment on Vietnam black tiger shrimp, while in the UK Northcoast Seafoods snapped up a new Grimsby processing facility, with a little help from HSBC.

Finally, financial reporting season for the third quarter also began to drip start last week with companies such as Marine Harvest, AKVA, Fleury Michon, Marel, AquaScot, Premier Fishing, Exalmar, and Alicorp all giving an update on their latest results – more will follow this week.

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